By 1960, Castro's government had seized private land, nationalized hundreds of private companies including several local subsidiaries of U.S. corporations and taxed American products so heavily that U.S. exports were halved in just two years. The Eisenhower Administration responded by imposing trade restrictions on everything except food and medical supplies. Decrying "Yankee imperialism," Castro expanded trade with the Soviet Union instead. The U.S. responded by cutting all diplomatic ties, and the two countries have been talking through Switzerland ever since. President Kennedy issued the permanent embargo on Feb. 7, 1962 right after ordering a shipment of 1,200 Cuban cigars for himself and within a few years the country, whose economy relied on the use of American-made products, became a shell of its former self. Food consumption decreased. Telephones and televisions were harder to come by. With no way to import American cars, Cubans watched their pre-embargo sedans rust into jalopies.
The U.S. strengthened its embargo rules in 1992 and again in 1996 with the Helms-Burton Act, which applied the embargo to foreign countries that traded with Cuba and was issued in retaliation after Cuba shot down two U.S. civilian airplanes. The last decade has seen the U.S. tighten and then relax restrictions depending on the political climate. A 2001 agreement to sell food to Cuba in the aftermath of Hurricane Michelle has so far remained in place; the United States is now Cuba's main supplier of food, with sales reaching $710 million in 2008.
Obama and Castro call for end of Cuba embargo - USA TODAY
Today, U.S. public opinion is turning against the embargo. A majority—52%—wants the embargo to be lifted, with 67% favoring an immediate end to the travel restrictions, according to the Cuba Policy Foundation (CPF), a nonprofit run by a former U.S. ambassador. Recent polls have even shown that a majority of Miami Cubans now support lifting the embargo.
Nikki Haley’s U.N. Speech on Cuba Embargo | National Review
Consult your exclusive Visit Cuba arts and entertainment directory to keep ahead of the… This July we’re heading to Santiago de to celebrate that historic city’s 500th anniversary.