Cuba’s President Raul Castro addressed the country’s relations with the United States during his year-end speech in parliament.
Castro told parliament: “We’re not asking the US to change its political or social systems and we don’t accept negotiating on ours.
“If we really wish to make advances in our bilateral relations, we will have to learn to mutually respect our differences and get accustomed to living peacefully with them.
“Any other way and we’re willing to withstand another 55 years in the same situation.”
The speech came a week and a half after Castro and US President Barack Obama shook hands at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service in South Africa.
The gesture sparked a flurry of speculation, but both sides played down any political significance.
The US severed diplomatic ties with Communist Cuba in 1961 and introduced a trade embargo that remains in place today.