Raul Castro's Speech Reiterates Slow Progress for U.S. Travel to Cuba

Although a U.S. government panel has already initiated baby steps to undo travel restrictions to Cuba, agents should not expect any immediate reform from the Caribbean island. Any large hopes for imminent change have been quelled since Cuban President Raul Castro  warned citizens of his country "have to get accustomed to not receiving only good news," Reuters reports.

Castro spoke the discouraging words Saturday in his speech commemorating the 55th anniversary of the start of the Cuban revolution, and stressed austerity for Cuba. The disappointing words were spoken in contrast to last year's July 26 speech, where Castro promised economic reforms while acknowledging that wages were too low. He followed last year's speech with several small but symbolic changes such as allowing Cubans go to tourist facilities that were previously reserved for foreign tourists.

Castro also said that Cuba's military will remain strong in the face of the United States, no matter what the outcome of the upcoming presidential election.

Travel Agent reported on low expectations of any immediate effect Raul Castro would have on travel to Cuba when it interviewed author Christoper P. Baker in February.