Cuban President Raul Castro on Friday blasted President Donald Trump’s reversal on some Obama-era policies intended to thaw relations with the island nation, saying that Cuba does “not need to receive lessons from the United States” on human rights issues.
“We reject the manipulation of the topic of human rights against Cuba, that can be proud of much in this area, and does not need to receive lessons from the United States nor anyone,” Castro told the country’s National Assembly, Reuters reports.
Trump announced last month that he was “canceling the last administration’s completely one-sided deal with Cuba” in hopes of putting pressure on the country’s repressive government.
Moreover, Castro said Friday that Trump’s policy shift announced last month would ultimately fail to spark regime change in Cuba. He also accused the president of ignoring popular opinion in the U.S. and pandering to a small number of people.
The Cuban leader said that he was open to warmer relations with the U.S., but said that neither side “should have to make concessions inherent to one’s sovereignty and independence.”
Trump’s rollbacks of parts of Obama’s Cuba policies further restrict travel to the island and would place restrictions on businesses run by the Cuban military. But both countries will keep their embassies open and Trump will not reimplement the “wet foot, dry foot” policy that gave asylum to Cuban nationals who arrived on U.S. soil, a policy that Obama ended.