Raul Castro: Cuba will still be a communist, despite renewed ties with US

World Today

Cuban President Raul Castro lauds his recent agreement with U.S. President Barack Obama to renew ties, but Castro warned that Washington should respect the communist rule on the island. CCTV America’s Michael Voss reported this story from Havana.

It was a week of triumph for Raul Castro. A prisoner swap between Washington and Havana meant all five of the imprisoned Cuban spies were finally home. The Cuban prisoners were known as “anti-terrorist heroes” and were guests of honor at Cuba’s Assembly and given a prolonged standing ovation.

Then, during his televised address, Castro spoke of his other achievement, ending half a century of diplomatic isolation from the United States. He acknowledged that big differences remain between the two countries, though they could now discuss them on equal terms.

But don’t expect Cuba to change, he said.

“No one should think that in order to improve relations with the United States Cuba should renounce the ideas for which it has fought for over a century In the same manner that we have never tried to have the United States to change its political system, we will demand respect for ours,” Castro said.

President Castro also called on Obama to use his executive powers to ease the decades-old economic trade embargo and to take Cuba off the list of state sponsors of terrorism. To this end, he made the following pledge:

“From Cuba, no terrorist act has ever been organized, financed or carried out against any US person, interest or territory and it will never be allowed,” Castro said.

Castro also confirmed that Cuba would attend the Summit of the Americas next April in Panama, where, for the first time in more than 50 years, a Cuban leader will sit around the same table as the president of the United States.

Joseph Humire of Center for a Free Society discusses next steps in US-Cuba ties

CCTV America interviewed Joseph Humire, executive director of the Center for a Free Society about what’s next for Cuba and the United States.