The Washington Times - August 3, 2009, 06:04AM

Cuban President Raul Castro says he would not change Cuba’s communist system to make peace with the U.S. but repeated his willingness to discuss all issues with the island’s longtime enemy, Reuters is reporting.

In a speech to the Cuban National Assembly, Castro said the U.S. under President Obama has been less “aggressive” toward Cuba. But he expressed irritation with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for saying repeatedly that Washington expects Havana to make changes in exchange for better relations.

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“I was elected to defend, maintain and continue perfecting socialism, not destroy it,” Castro said.

Hey, Raul. We’re on the same page, man. Let’s talk about it over a couple of beers  at the White House.

The Obama administration has restarted immigration talks with Cuba that had been suspended under President Bush. It also has made smaller adjustments, such as turning off the huge news ticker on the building representing U.S. interests in Havana.

Come on, Raul. We’re practically bending over backwards here. This is a lot of trouble for quality cigars, but we think it’s worth it.