HAVANA (Reuters) – President Raul Castro warned Cubans on Saturday that the United States was determined to end Cuba’s socialist revolution despite restoring relations and a visit by U.S. President Barack Obama, saying one-party Communism was essential to defend the system.
“We must be alert, today more than ever,” Castro said, speaking in front of a giant portrait of his brother Fidel Castro at the inauguration of the Communist Party’s first congress in five years.
Speaking for over two hours, Castro used a defiant tone that belied the breakthrough between the Cold War enemies. He said Obama’s desire to end U.S. sanctions was welcome but just a change of “method”, in reference to efforts by Washington to bring political change to Cuba ever since the Castro brothers toppled a pro-American government in 1959.
Obama and Castro announced in December 2014 they would end decades of hostility and normalize relations. But on a historic trip to the island last month, Obama angered the government with a speech broadcast directly into Cubans’ homes calling for more political freedom and democracy in the one-party state.