Raúl Castro, Cuba's president and head of the country’s Communist Party, has ruled out establishing a multiparty political system in Cuba.
Castro also told a Party conference in Havana that corruption was an even bigger threat to Cuba's revolution than the United States and pledged to institute term-limits for Cuban officials — including himself, Fox News reported.
On the issue of allowing new parties to contest power, Castro said critics did not take into account the "abnormal state of siege" from the north in which the country existed.
"To renounce the principle of a one-party system would be the equivalent of legalizing a party, or parties, of imperialism on our soil," he reportedly said.
“In Cuba, taking into account the long fight for our independence and sovereignty, we will defend the one-party system in the face of the games, demagogy and the marketing of politics."
According to the Financial Times, Castro — who recently outlined a 311-point plan to modernize Cuba’s Soviet-style economy — said that:
political continuity would proceed side by side with economic reform and some loosening of restrictions on citizen’s personal lives.
Castro's speech, the FT wrote, was peppered with attacks on the western media — excluded from the meeting — and anti-US rhetoric.
According to Fox, he denounced "Washington's 50-year trade embargo, its support for dissidents and its imprisonment of Cuban agents who had infiltrated anti-Castro groups in Miami."
He called representative democracies "the concentration of political power in the hegemonic economic and financial class."
"We must promote democracy in our society, starting with the party," he said, urging rank-and-file members to speak up when they disagree with something.