Timeline of Significant Events

Date Event
1959 January 1 – Fidel Castro Comes to Power after the Cuban Revolution
1960 March – President Eisenhower establishes an Arms Embargo after Castro regime nationalizes all U.S. Businesses without compensation
1961 April 17 – The Bay of Pigs InvasionSeptember 4 – Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 Passes in the US Congress, prohibiting aid to Cuba and giving the president the authority to create a “total embargo upon all trade with Cuba”
1962 October – Cuban Missile CrisisFebruary 7 – Kennedy expands Eisenhower’s partial trade restrictions to include all trade with the exception of unsubsidized sales of food and medicines
1963 February 8 – the Kennedy Administration prohibits that U.S. citizens travel to Cuba or have financial or commercial transactions with CubaJuly 8 – The U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Controls issues theCuban Assets Control Regulations under the Trading With the Enemy Act, which outlines the prohibition of trade, the exceptions, and the approval requirement of food and medical exports to Cuba.
1977 March 19 – President Carter does not renew the travel ban to Cuba and drops the U.S. citizen spending regulations in Cuba.
1979 January 1 – Cuban-Americans are allowed to travel to Cuba to visit their families
1982 April 19 – President Reagan reinstates the travel restrictions and forbids U.S. Citizens from spending in Cuba.
1991 February – The US Congress passes the Mack Amendment, which becomes part of the Export Administrations Act, prohibiting foreign-based subsidiaries of US companies from conducting any and all trade with Cuba
1992 October – The US Congress passes the Cuban Democracy Act, which prohibits US citizens from traveling to Cuba and from sending family remittances to Cuba. It also limits US-controlled firms in third countries from certain transactions with Cuba. Additionally, the act allows for medical exports only if the purposes for which they will be used can be verified.
1994 September – The US signs an agreement with Cuba in which Cuba agrees to end the mass immigration of refugees in exchange for the US agreement to the annual admittance of 20,000 Cubans.
1996 March 12 – The Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (Libertad) Actis passed. Also known as the Helms-Burton Act, it strengthened the embargo against Cuba by cutting Cuba’s economic assistance from third-countries and opposing Cuban membership in international financial institutions. It also outlines the necessary components and process for the end of the U.S. embargo against Cuba. Also, it gives US citizens the right to sue those who invest in American-owned property and calls for the expulsion of individuals who invest in illegally confiscated property in Cuba.July 16 – President Bill Clinton (and the US presidents that have followed him) suspends the enforcement of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, which gave citizens the right to sue for illegally confiscated property in Cuba.
1998 May – A number of changes are made to the embargo against Cuba. Direct charter flights are resumed, an expedited license process for medicine sales to Cuba is created, family remittances can be sent to relatives in Cuba, and agricultural sales are discussed.
2000 October – The U.S. Congress passes the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act, which allows the sale of agricultural goods and medicine for humanitarian reasons.
2003 March – 10 U.S. Senators form the bipartisan “Cuba Working Group” in order to evaluate and oppose the embargo against Cuba. Now both chambers of Congress contain a Cuba working group (The House Working Group was established in April of 2002)October – President George W. Bush creates the “Committee for Assistance to a Free Cuba”, which tightens the ban on travel to Cuba as well as more strictly enforces the embargo against Cuba.
2004 October – Cuban President Castro bans the use of US dollars on commercial transactions and establishes a 10% tax for converting US dollars into pesos.
2008 February – President Fidel Castro announces that his brother Raul Castro will officially take over as president. Meanwhile the U.S. claims that the embargo against Cuba will continue.
2009 April – A delegation of six U.S. Congressional Black Caucus members meet with the Castro brothers to discuss and evaluate the embargoApril 13 – President Barack Obama announces changes to the U.S. embargo against Cuba including the lifting of all restrictions on Cuban-Americans visiting family in Cuba and sending remittances. The April 2009 directives also authorize U.S. telecommunications network providers to provide some services in Cuba.September 17 – US officials go to Havana to meet with Cuban officials in order to discuss resuming direct mail service to Cuba.
2010 January 15 – In light of the earthquake disaster in Haiti, Cuba allows US planes to fly over Cuba in order to aid the Haitian relief effortsMarch 8 – New OFAC ruling allows Cubans to access U.S.-based personal communication internet services such as instant messaging and social networking sites (consistent with president Obama’s April 2009 directives)