Cuba said, in an editorial published Wednesday, it would welcome President Barack Obama to Havana later this month, but the Communist government had no intention of changing its policies in exchange for normal relations with the U.S. Nathan Frandino reports.
They may be preparing to host U.S. President Obama in a new era of detente, but Cuba has a bristling message for its former Cold War foe. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) NEWS PRESENTER, RAUL ISIDRON, SAYING: "Working together does not mean that we have to renounce the ideas we believe in and which have brought us this far - our socialism, our history, our culture." The editorial was issued by Cuba's state-controlled media and comes 15 months after Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro agreed to end more than five decades of hostilities and try to normalize relations. But the editorial made clear, strong differences remain... chief among them the U.S. trade embargo, which congressional Republicans have refused to end, and U.S. support for dissidents on the island. Despite the tough words, ordinary Cubans say they're hopeful that positive changes are on the way. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) ACCOUNTANT, GUILLERMO RAMIREZ, SAYING: "This is the beginning, the beginning of a long deal, it is not all done now with a magic wand. We have a long road. We have to be conscious of that." Obama's visit on March 20 will be the first by a U.S. president since the 1959 revolution.