Havana, April 17 : The Eighth Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) kicked off at Havana's Convention Center, chaired by Raul Castro, first secretary of the PCC's Central Committee, and President Miguel Diaz-Canel.
During the presentation of the Central Report to the Eighth Congress of the PCC, Castro on Friday said that Cuba has preserved important social achievements in education, healthcare and social security, despite the intensification of the US embargo against the island nation, reports Xinhua news agency.
Castro, 89, expressed his "will to develop a respectful dialogue and build a new type of relationship with the US" saying, "Cuba will not give up on the principles of the Revolution and socialism".
He also called for improving the performance of the local economy and consolidating relations with governments and parties from different nations.
"As far as I am concerned, my work as the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba has come to an end, with the satisfaction of having accomplished my duty and with confidence in the future of the homeland," he added.
The Congress takes place as the island marks the 60th anniversary of the victory against the US-backed Bay of Pigs invasion and the declaration of Cuban socialism.
With senior party leaders and delegates from all over the island in attendance, the meeting is scheduled to conclude on Monday.
Addressing the audience during the opening speech, Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, second secretary of the Central Committee of PCC, said that the political organisation "guarantees national unity and represents the ideals of dignity, justice and social independence" for which generations of Cuban patriots have fought.
Wearing face masks and abiding by social distancing guidelines, delegates discussed ideology, updating of the Cuban model, internal functioning of the PCC as well as the economic transformations implemented over the past five years since the last party congress.
Iroel Sanchez, a political commentator, told Xinhua that the Cuban Revolution will not only continue to stand on its own feet but actually has a lot to offer to a world that needs the Caribbean nation's example.
"We have many challenges ahead, but the Cuban people have shown evidence of huge reservoirs of intelligence and humanism instilled in it by socialism," he said.