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Cuba 'will not change' communist system, despite thaw with US ( thank you so much Mr Obama !)

Cuba 'will not change' communist system, despite thaw with US . Cuban President Raul Castro has hailed a recent US move to normalise bilateral relations but stressed Havana would not change its political system. Mr Castro also warned Cuba faced a "long and difficult struggle" before the US removed its economic embargo. He said he would attend next year's Summit of Americas in Panama, where he could meet US President Barack Obama. On Wednesday, Mr Obama announced a "new chapter" in US ties with the communist-run island. The changes, he said, 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. Grey line At the scene: Will Grant, BBC News, Havana It was a speech heavy on symbolism. Among others, in the audience were the reunited Cuban 5 - the group of Cuban intelligence officers freshly released from jail for spying in the US in exchange for the USAID contractor imprisoned in Cuba, Alan Gross. Elian Gonzalez - the young boy who was at the centre of an epic legal tussle between the US and Cuba during the Clinton administration and who is now a 21-year-old graduate of the military academy - was there, too. Amid sustained applause, President Raul Castro tried to keep Cubans' feet firmly on the ground. After all, Cuba's key demand - the complete lifting of the US economic embargo - is still to be met. Nevertheless he praised President Barack Obama for his bravery in trying to reverse decades of hostilities between the two countries and confirmed that he would attend the summit of the Americas in Panama in April. That potentially paves the way for a face-to-face meeting with the US president - an almost unimaginable prospect a year ago. As President Castro drew parliament to a close for 2014, it is no exaggeration to say it will be remembered as one of the most historic years in the history of the Cuban Revolution. Grey line
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