Havana: Cuban President Raul Castro said on Thursday that his government is willing to mend fences with bitter Cold War foe the United States and sit down to discuss anything, as long as it is a conversation between equals.
At the end of a Revolution Day ceremony marking the 59th anniversary of a failed uprising against a military barracks, Castro grabbed the microphone for apparently impromptu remarks.
He echoed previous statements that no topic is off-limits, including US concerns about democracy, freedom of the press and human rights on the island, as long as it is a conversation between equals.
"Any day they want, the table is set. This has already been said through diplomatic channels," Castro said. "If they want to talk, we will talk."
"We are nobody`s colony, nobody`s puppet," Castro added.
Washington and Havana have not had diplomatic relations for five decades.
The 50-year-old US embargo outlaws nearly all trade and travel to the island, and Washington insists Cuba must institute democratic reforms and improve human rights before it can be lifted.