WASHINGTON, D.C. - Washington is ready and willing to start a dialogue with Havana, American President Barack Obama said in a press conference Saturday, but warned that "political and regime change are not up for negotiation."
"I was elected to defend, maintain and continue perfecting socialism, not to destroy it," President Obama said to enthusiastic Democratic applause.
He added that anyone expecting anything less than a substantial broadening of the middle class under the Obama regime was "in for a real wake-up call."
Obama also repeated his offer to President Raul Castro to "sustain a respectful dialogue between equals" with Cuba.
Castro, on the other hand, has insisted he needs to see signs the United States is "practicing a less extreme form of socialism" before he gives in to any more overtures.