HAVANA Cuba and the United States will always have differences, Cuban President Raul Castro said on Monday during a historic visit by President Barack Obama, especially while the United States maintains a "double standard" on human rights.
"The two nations have profound differences that are never going to disappear," Castro told reporters while standing alongside Obama after they held talks at Cuban government headquarters.
Obama said the two differed on democracy and human rights and that they had "frank and candid" discussions about it. Castro said they could achieve much greater cooperation if the United States lifted its 54-year-old trade embargo on the island.
The two leaders held face-to-face meetings a day after Obama arrived for the first visit by a U.S. president in almost 90 years, achieving a goal for his final year in office that became possible after secret talks led to a 2014 agreement to normalize relations between the two Cold War-era foes.
The opening ended decades of U.S. efforts to force Cuba to change through isolation. But Obama is under pressure from critics at home to push Castro's Communist government to allow political dissent and to further open its Soviet-style economy.
(Additional reporting by Jeff Mason, Daniel Trotta and Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Frances Kerry)
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Updated Date: Mar 22, 2016 00:31:57 IST