'Either they take serious measures to guard their coasts,' Mr Castro said on Friday night, 'or we will stop putting obstacles in the way of people who want to leave the country and we will stop putting obstacles in the way of people who want to come and look for their relations here.'
In 1980, about 100,000 people left for the United States in boats in a huge exodus allowed by the Cuban authorities and known as the Mariel boatlift.
'We will not permit Fidel Castro to dictate our immigration policy or to create a replay of the Mariel boatlift', the State Department said.
Friday's disturbances, in which dozens of people threw stones at police and smashed windows, were linked to the hijackings of three ferries from Havana Bay in 10 days. ReuterReuse content