The Cuban president has re-affirmed the communist island’s commitment to a one-party political system, dashing any faint hopes dissidents may have had of fundamental democratic reform.
At a communist conference in Havana Raul Castro said allowing more than one party would open the door to US interference.
“We defend the one-party system over the game of demagogy and the commercialisation of politics,” he told delegates.
Castro did, however, announce the government would push ahead with changes to limit the terms of office of Cuba’s top leaders.
“We will implement the decision to limit political terms to two consecutive five-year terms for major government and political decisions,” he said.
Since Raul took over the presidency from his brother Fidel in 2008 there have been some modest reforms, including giving people the right to open small business and to buy and sell cars.
The leadership has not made any commitment to significant political change to match the economic measures, and the weekend conference indicates they are not about to.