• Government publishes editorial on Obama in state newspaper
  • Editorial says Cuba will consolidate socialist economic model

The Cuban government said it won’t renounce its “revolutionary and anti-imperialist” ideals as relations with the U.S. thaw ahead of President Barack Obama’s visit to the Communist island this month.

In an editorial published Wednesday in Granma, the Communist Party’s official newspaper, the government said its relations with the U.S. won’t affect the goal of building “prosperous and sustainable socialism” to consolidate the 1959 revolution. Obama’s visit is an important step in normalizing relations, the government said, a process that began in December 2014 when Obama and President Raul Castro said they would restore diplomatic ties after more than five decades.

“Cuba has been involved in building a new relationship with the United States, in full exercise of her sovereignty and commitment to ideals of social justice and solidarity,” the editorial said. “No one can expect that, for this reason, we have to renounce a single one of our principles, or cede an inch in our defense.”

Obama’s March 21-22 visit will make him the first sitting U.S. president to visit the communist island since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. The White House made meeting with dissident groups in the country a precondition of his trip.

In the editorial, the Cuban government criticized the U.S. role in supporting dissidents, saying the country should “abandon the pretense of fabricating an internal political opposition, paid for with money from U.S. taxpayers.”

Cuba also reiterated demands for the end of the five-decade long economic embargo and the return the Guantanamo Naval Base. Fully lifting the embargo requires an act of Congress.