CRF Blog

Backgrounder on U.S.-Cuba Relations

by Bill Hayes

Backgrounders from the Council on Foreign Relations are primers on pressing world issues. They usually include histories, summaries, images, graphs, video, and links to additional resources.

A recent Backgrounder was on U.S.-Cuba Relations.

The U.S.-Cuba relationship has been plagued by distrust and antagonism since 1959, the year Fidel Castro overthrew a U.S.-backed regime in Havana and established a socialist state allied with the Soviet Union. During the half century that followed, successive U.S. administrations pursued policies intended to isolate the island country economically and diplomatically. The United States has sanctioned Cuba longer than any other country.

Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro, who replaced his brother as Cuban leader in 2008, took some extraordinary steps to normalize bilateral relations, meeting with each other, restoring full diplomatic ties, and easing travel restrictions. President Donald J. Trump has reversed some actions taken by the Obama administration and raised the prospect that the United States might move to further roll back ties. [more]