His aides contend that Obama's easing of USA restrictions amounted to "appeasement" and has done nothing to advance political freedoms in Cuba, while benefiting the Cuban government financially. The government remained willing to engage in "respectful dialogue", it said in a statement.
President Donald Trump's announcement that he's "cancelling" his predecessor's policy toward Cuba is a good deal less than meets the ear.
"We will continue to urge the Trump Administration and Congress to recognize and utilize travel as a strategic tool in efforts to improve relations with Cuba, allowing us to be part of a promising future, as opposed to reverting to the policies of the past".
Diplomatic relations will remain in tact and commercial air and sea links will be exempted from the new restrictions.
Cuban state TV said: "The government of Cuba denounces the new measures toughening the embargo that are destined to fail".
Cuba's main regional allies, Venezuela and Bolivia, have reaffirmed their support for Havana, condemning U.S. President Donald Trump's tightening of restrictions as "ignorant" and an "abuse of power".
The changes that Trump has announced will have an impact on the Cuban economy within three months, once the new regulations are put in place. Trump will justify his partial reversal of Obama's measures to a large extent on those grounds, White House officials said, and some Cuban dissidents back his tougher stance, saying repression has worsened since the detente. Despite bitter criticism and personal attacks, most have continued to operate, many with a degree of support from USA individuals and foundations that would have been impossible before the reestablishment of diplomatic relations.
'We recall that Cuba is a State party to 44 worldwide human rights instruments, while the United States comply with only 18, therefore we have much to show, comment and defend, ' the island's government upholds.
Since taking over the running of the country just over a decade ago, Castro has been gradually expanding the private sector and trying to open up the country to foreign businesses. "Our new policy begins with strictly enforcing United States law", he told a cheering crowd in Miami's Little Havana, the spiritual home of the Cuban- American community.
At the venue where Trump announced his policy changes, the president received a warm welcome from audience members.
The past two years has shown that the two countries, as Cuban President Raul Castro has repeated, can cooperate and live together in a civilized manner, respecting differences and fostering everything that can benefit both nations and people, the statement points out.
"We want this relationship to be one in which we can encourage the Cuban people through economic interaction". But it makes some exceptions, including for air and sea travel, according to USA officials.
But the changes would ultimately meet four objectives, according to the White House: Ensure compliance with USA law, hold the Cuban government accountable for alleged human rights abuses, further the interests of the US and the Cuban people, and "empower the Cuban people to develop greater economic and political liberty". Remittances from people in America to Cubans won't be cut off.
"Today is a major setback for worldwide relations, NAFSA, our allies and the Cuban and American people".
The Obama administration had restored diplomatic relations with its Cold War foe in December 2014.
"We will not be silent in the face of communist oppression any longer", Mr. Trump said at the Manuel Artime Theater, named for a former supporter of Fidel Castro who became a leader of Brigade 2506, the land forces that spearheaded the United States-led Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961.