HAVANA, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Speaking in front of the Cuban Parliament on Saturday, Cuban President Raúl Castro declared Cuba will remain communist.
"In the same way that we have never demanded that the United States change its political system, we will demand respect for ours," the president said in a televised speech.
President Obama announced on Wednesday the United States will be "normalizing" its relationship with Cuba, but he has not announced a full lift of the embargo between the countries.
"The Cuban people are grateful ... to remove the obstacles to our relations," Castro said.
He said it has been a long struggle for Cuba since the United States embargoed the country in 1960, but he believes the country will be "prosperous" in the near future.
The normalization includes allowing certain trade and travel between the countries, and it has been hailed as an important move by world leaders.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who is Cuban himself, has called it a "betrayal" and believes the agreement will only benefit Cuba. He is against working closely with the country while it still maintains a communist system.