Cuba’s President Raul Castro has stressed that Havana will not change its political system after recent US move to normalize bilateral relations.
Raul Castro also warned that Cuba faced a “long and difficult struggle” before the US removed its economic embargo.
On December 17, President Barack Obama announced a “new chapter” in US ties with communist-run Cuba.
He said the changes were the “most significant” in US policy towards Cuba in 50 years.
US-Cuba relations have remained frozen since the early 1960s, when the US broke off diplomatic relations and imposed a trade embargo after Cuba’s revolution.
Raul Castro, the brother of former leader Fidel Castro, said he was open to discussing a wide range of issues with Washington, but stressed that Cuba would not give up its socialist principles.
“In the same way that we have never demanded that the United States change its political system, we will demand respect for ours.”
Raul Castro added that Cuba had to go through a “long and difficult struggle” before the decades-old US economic embargo would be lifted.
Announcing the normalization of diplomatic and economic ties, President Barack Obama said Washington’s approach towards Cuba was “outdated”.
As part of the deal, US contractor Alan Gross and an unnamed intelligence officer loyal to the US were released from Cuban prison in return for three Cubans held in the US.
Barack Obama also said he wanted to reopen a US embassy in Havana in the coming months.
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