U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday laid out his new Cuba policy that tightens rules on Americans traveling to Cuba and bars U.S. individuals and companies from doing commerce with Cuban businesses owned by the Cuban military.
The new policy, which Trump announced during his speech in Miami, home to the largest Cuban-American community, has rolled back the thaw in the two former Cold War foes’ relations spearheaded by his predecessor Barack Obama.
The following is a chronology of major events in Cuba-U.S. ties after the 1959 Cuba Revolution led by Fidel Castro overthrew a U.S.-friendly government.
Jan. 3, 1961
The United States severed ties with Cuba and closed its embassy in Havana.
The U.S. government supported an abortive invasion by Cuban exiles at the Bay of Pigs in southwest Cuba. Castro proclaimed Cuba a communist state and began to ally it with the Soviet Union.
Feb. 7, 1962
Then U.S. President John F. Kennedy issued a permanent embargo on Cuba, in areas such as the economy, finance and trade.
U.S. spy planes discovered evidence that the Soviet Union was building missile bases in Cuba, which triggered a crisis that brought the two superpowers to the brink of a nuclear war.
The Cuban Missile Crisis was subsequently resolved when the Soviet Union agreed to remove the missiles in return for the withdrawal of U.S. nuclear missiles from Turkey.
The U.S. Congress passed the Cuban Democracy Act, which prohibited foreign-based subsidiaries of U.S. companies from trading with Cuba, travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens, and family remittances to Cuba.
The bill stipulated that any vessel which had traded goods or services with Cuba could not within 180 days dock at a U.S. port.
After Cuba shot down two U.S. civilian airplanes, the U.S. Congress passed the Helms-Burton Act, which strengthened and continued the U.S. embargo against Cuba.
The act extended the territorial application of the initial embargo to apply to foreign companies trading with Cuba.
Then U.S. President George W. Bush announced fresh measures designed to hasten the end of communist rule in Cuba, including tightening a travel embargo to the island, cracking down on illegal cash transfers, and a more robust information campaign aimed at Cuba. A new body, the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, was created.
Dec. 17, 2014
Then U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban leader Raul Castro announced the start of the process to restore bilateral relations, after a telephone conversation two days earlier.
Jan. 15, 2015
The U.S. Department of Treasury announced it would relax restrictions on exports, travel and currency exchanges with Cuba.
April 11, 2015
Obama and Raul Castro officially met for the first time at the Summit of the Americas in Panama. They had met informally and shook hands at Nelson Mandela’s memorial in South Africa in December 2013.
July 1, 2015
U.S. and Cuba announced they would restore diplomatic relations and reopen their respective embassies.
July 20, 2015
Cuba-U.S. diplomatic ties were officially restored after 54 years, six months and 17 days.
March 21-22, 2016
Obama paid an official visit to Cuba. He was the first U.S. president to visit the island in 88 years.
Nov. 9, 2016
Raul Castro extended a message to Donald Trump to congratulate him on being elected the new U.S. president.
Nov. 29, 2016
Trump said on Twitter: “If Cuba is unwilling to make a better deal for the Cuban people, the Cuban/American people and the U.S. as a whole, I will terminate deal.”
The tough comment requesting more concessions from Cuba was suggestive of a hardline stance and was expected to raise more speculation and uncertainties about Trump’s Cuba policy.