Cuban President Raúl Castro announced Sunday that his new term would be his last, which will conclude in 2018.
Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez was selected as Castro's top vice president Sunday. His selection puts Díaz-Canel as front-runner of succession. Díaz-Canel, 52, is a former minister of higher education.
Sunday was the first time an expiration has been put on the Castro era, the Los Angeles Times said. Fidel Castro, Raúl Castro's brother, ruled from 1959 until 2006, when his brother took over. Fidel Castro even made a rare public appearance to hear his brother's speech.
However, President Castro's following announcement was more surprising. Castro says he hopes to establish term limits and age caps for political offices, The New York Times said. The political offices also include presidency, which is a surprise since a Castro has ruled for over a half a century.
Castro's selection of a younger vice president is the first time a younger generation has been in the front line of succession.
"The island is now a heartbeat away from being ruled by a person who did not fight in the revolution that brought the Communists to power," The New York Times said.