19 October 1960

The United States imposes a near-total trade embargo against Cuba.

The United States trade embargo against Cuba, also known as the Cuban embargo, is a comprehensive set of economic sanctions that the United States has imposed on Cuba since the early 1960s. The embargo is one of the longest-standing trade embargoes in modern history and has had a significant impact on Cuba’s economy and its relationship with the United States and the rest of the world.

Origins: The embargo was initially imposed during the early 1960s in response to the Cuban Revolution led by Fidel Castro. The U.S. government was concerned about the spread of communism in the Western Hemisphere and viewed Castro’s government as a threat to American interests.

Embargo Components: The embargo encompasses a series of economic, commercial, and financial sanctions. This includes restrictions on trade, investment, and travel between the United States and Cuba.

Helms-Burton Act: In 1996, the United States enacted the Helms-Burton Act, which strengthened the embargo. This law allows U.S. citizens to sue companies that use or profit from property confiscated by the Cuban government after the revolution. It also makes it more difficult for the embargo to be lifted without significant political changes in Cuba.

Impact on Cuba: The embargo has had a significant impact on Cuba’s economy. It limits the country’s ability to trade with the United States, one of its closest neighbors, and has hindered foreign investment. This has contributed to economic difficulties in Cuba, although the Cuban government has also implemented its own economic policies that have played a role in the nation’s economic situation.

International Opposition: The embargo has been widely criticized by the international community. The United Nations General Assembly has consistently passed resolutions calling for an end to the embargo, with the vast majority of member states opposing the U.S. policy.

Changes in U.S. Policy: Over the years, there have been some changes in U.S. policy towards Cuba. Most notably, President Barack Obama announced a series of measures in 2014 to normalize relations with Cuba, including re-establishing diplomatic relations and easing travel and trade restrictions. However, many of these changes were reversed or tightened during the administration of President Donald Trump.