UPDATE 8:36 p.m. EST:
Following President Trump's recent decision to roll back Obama-era policies concerning Cuba, the communist country spoke out on Friday night, rejecting what it called Trump's "hostile rhetoric," according to the Associated Press. However, Cuba added that it would be willing to continue "respectful dialogue" on topics of mutual interest.
ORIGINAL STORY: President Trump on Friday said he is gutting key parts of former President Barack Obama’s “completely one-sided” agreement normalizing relations between the U.S. and Cuba.
“It’s hard to think of a policy that makes less sense than the previous administration’s terrible and misguided deal with the Castro regime,” he said in Miami, referencing Cuban President Raul Castro’s government.
“They made a deal with a government that spreads violence and instability in the region,” Trump added. “Those days are over. Now, we hold the cards.”
“The outcome of the last administration’s executive order has only been more repression. Therefore, effectively immediately, I am canceling the last administration’s completely one-sided deal with Cuba.”
Trump added that Castro’s communist government practices “a depraved ideology” that the U.S. would no longer ignore.
“For nearly six decades, the Cuban people have suffered under communist oppression,” he said. “We will never, ever be blind to it.”
“Now that I am your president, the American government will expose the crimes of the Castro regime.”
Trump’s announcement of tougher restrictions on Cuba fulfills a promise from his 2016 presidential campaign to crack down on the communist nation.
The president revealed his administration will prohibit so-called “people to people” educational trips that individuals can take to Cuba.
The policy also bans financial transactions with entities linked to Cuba’s military, a move that will likely curtail a significant portion of business and travel there.
Obama announced in December 2014 that the U.S. would be thawing diplomatic relations with Cuba in a historic move.
Americans have since been allowed to visit Cuba under 12 different travel with a general license, a major break in tensions between the U.S. and its island neighbor.