U.S. President George W. Bush reviled on Thursday Cuba's new President Raul Castro as a "tyrant," and refused to have dialogue with him.
Speaking to reporters at the White House, Bush reiterated U.S. allegation that Cuba is "suppressing human rights."
He described Raul Castro as "nothing more than the extension of what his brother (Fidel Castro) did, which was to ruin an island and imprison people because of their beliefs."
"Sitting down at the table, having your picture taken with a tyrant such as Raul Castro, for example, lends the status of the office and the status of our country to him," Bush said.
Raul Castro, 76, was named by Cuba's parliament as president of the country to replace his ailing brother Fidel Castro after the latter announced on Feb. 19 that he would retire as Cuba's leader, after nearly 50 years in power.
Fidel Castro, 81 pledged to continue communicating his thoughts to the Cuban people through media articles.
Washington has imposed restrictive measures on trade with Cuba since 1962. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte said last week the decades-old U.S. embargo on Cuba will remain in place despite Cuban leader Fidel Castro's resignation.