Castro Slaps Down US Overtures

By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2009 4:51 AM CDT
Cuba's President Raul Castro and Vice President Juan Almeida Bosque attend a session of the National Assembly of Popular Power in Havana yesterday.   (AP Photo/Javier Galeano)
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(Newser) – Raúl Castro has warned the US not to expect any changes to Cuba's communist system, saying that while Barack Obama's administration was less "aggressive," he was not prepared to make peace. His comments came after Hillary Clinton made several remarks suggesting better relations if Cuba changed its ways, Reuters reports. "With all due respect to Mrs. Clinton, they didn't elect me president to restore capitalism in Cuba, nor to hand over the revolution," said the Cuban president.

Obama's team has restarted immigration talks with Cuba suspended in the last administration. It has made smaller changes, too—like shutting down a controversial giant news ticker on the building representing US interests in Havana. But while Castro said that "we are ready to talk about everything," he vowed: "I was elected to defend, maintain and continue perfecting socialism, not destroy it."