Transcript of Cuban President Raul Castro on US-Cuba relations

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My people, my countrymen, since my election as president for the Council of State Ministries I have reiterated in many occasiosn our disposition to sustain with the US gov't a respectful dialogue based on equality, to treat the most diverse topics in a reciprocal manner without affecting the national independence and self-determination of our people.

This is a position that was express to the US gov't in a public manner and private, with the colleague Fidel in different times during our long struggle.

With the creation of discussing and resolving the differences through negotations without withdrawing ourselves from our principles.

The full Cuban people have showed confronting great dangers, aggressions, adversities and sacrifices, and as faithful to our ideals of independence and social justice. Closely united in these 55 years of revolution, we have guarded profound loyalty to those who fell defending those principles since the beginning of our wars for independence in 1868.

Now we push forward in front of these difficulties, the updating of our economic model to construct a socialism as prosperous and sustainable. A result out of a highest level dialogue including a telephone conversation I had yesterday with president Barack Obama, we have been able to push forward with the solution of some topics of interest for both countries.

As Fidel promised, in June 2001, when he said they will return once again to our homeland, Geraldo Ramon and Antonio. The enormous happiness of their family members and all our people that it was mobilizing with that same goal and has extended to all the committees and groups of solidarity the gov'ts, parliaments, organizations, institutions and personalities that during these 16 years, claiming they donated their work in liberation. To all of them we express such gratitude and their commitment.

This decision by Barack Obama deserves recognition and respect from our people. I want to appreciate and recognize the support from the Vatican and especially Pope Francisco for the improvement of relationships between Cuba and the United States, and also to the gov't of Canada for creating this possibility to have this highest level dialogue between the two countries.

And as well we decided to release from prison and send to the US a spy of Cuban origin who was in the service of that country on the other end based on humanitarian reasons today we also released to his country this American citizen Alan Gross.

In a unilateral manner which is our practice, restrict and close to our legal they have received penal benefits for the corresponding recruisions including the release from prison those of which the gov't of the US had shown interest in. Also we have worked on bringing the diplomatic relationships back.

This doesn't mean that the main thing has been resolved. The economic blockade, commercial and finance that provokes enormous human damage and economical damages to our country should cease.

Even though the measures of the blockade have been converted into law, the president of the United States can modify his application and the use of his executive staff. We ask the gov't of the US to adopt measures that are mutual to improve the bilateral climate and to push forward to normalization of the links between our countries based on the principles of international rights and the letter of the US.

Cuba keeps their disposition to sustain cooperation of the multilateral organisims like the United Nations, recognizing that we have profound differences fundamentally in the subject of national sovereignty, democracy, human rights and domestic policy I reaffirm our willingness to dialogue on all these topics.

I ask the US gov't to remove the obstacles that deteriorate or prohibit the links between our people, the families and citizens of both countries, in particular ones relevant to travel, mailing, and telecommunication, and to reach a sustained exchange to show it's possible to find solutions for many problems.

As we have repeated, we should learn the art of living together in a civilized manner with our differences. Overall these topics are important, and we will speak about them in the future. Thank you.