US and Cuba agree to reopen embassies

2 Jul 2015 | Written by Siripriya; Edited by Gaurav
US-Cuba ties over the years

In a promising move towards normalizing relations, US President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro agreed to reopen embassies in both the countries and diplomatic missions on July 2015.

Obama has urged the US Congress to lift the decades-old trade embargo.

"Americans and Cubans alike are ready to move forward', Obama said. "I believe it's time for Congress to do the same."

In context: US-Cuba ties over the years

1902Cuban Independence

Spain's rule of Cuba ended on 1 Dec 1898, after the Spanish-American war. Spain renounced all rights to Cuba and ceded it to the US.

US military rule of Cuba lasted till 1902, when Cuba formally became independent.

The Platt Amendment signed between Cuba and US, kept the island under US protection and gave US the right to intervene in Cuban affairs.

1902-1959The initial years of independence

After independence, US intervened many a times militarily in Cuban affairs to quell rebellion.

Fulgencio Batista's presidential term in Cuba saw a period of close cooperation between both the countries.

In 1934, US abandoned its right to intervene in Cuba's internal affairs.

In 1959, Fidel Castro led a guerrilla rebellion and forced Batista to flee while US withdrew military aid to Batista.

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1959-1961Stymied relations under Castro's rule

In 1959, Fidel Castro became the Prime Minister of Cuba.

In 1960, Castro nationalized all US businesses in Cuba without compensation. US therefore, broke off trade relations with Cuba and imposed a trade embargo in response to Castro's reforms.

In 1961, a US backed invasion at Bay of Pigs was resisted by Cuba.

Castro proclaimed Cuba a communist state and allied with the USSR.

1961-1965US-Cuba relations plummet further

Between 1961 and 1965, over eight assassination attempts were planned by CIA to kill Castro.

In 1962, fearing a US invasion, Castro allowed USSR to deploy nuclear missiles in Cuba. Tensions peaked between the two nations at the time.

This almost led to a war until USSR agreed to remove missiles in return of US withdrawal of missiles from Turkey.

1992-2004Post Cold War relations

Post Cold War, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba was left without its super power ally.

The US in 1993, further tightened its embargo on Cuba which prohibited travel to Cuba by US citizens.

Bill Clinton in 1999 eased the travel restrictions.

In 2003, George Bush went back to tightening travel embargo and announced measures to end the communist rule in Cuba.

2013Raul's rule welcomes a thaw

Fidel Castro's brother, Raul Castro who was then the acting leader, officially took over the reins to become Cuba's President in 2008.

Raul indicated that he was open to warming of relations with the US.

In 2009, Obama lifted restrictions on family travel and remittances to Cuba.

In 2013, US and Cuban officials held secret talks to start the process of restoring ties.

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2014-2015Obama announces US will restore relations with Cuba

On 17 Dec 2014, President Obama announced that US will restore relations with Cuba and open an embassy in Havana for the first time in more than half-century.

He vowed to "cut loose the shackles of the past."

On 14 April 2015, Obama administration announced the removal of Cuba from the United States "Terrorist Sponsor" list; it was officially removed on 29 May 2015.

2 Jul 2015US and Cuba agree to reopen embassies

18 Feb 2016Obama to visit Cuba in March: Sources

President Barack Obama will visit Cuba in the coming weeks, the first for a sitting US president in nearly 90 years, senior administration officials have stated.

The trip marks an end to more than a half-century of official estrangement between the historic Cold War rivals.

The last sitting president to visit the island was Calvin Coolidge, who addressed a conference in Havana in 1928.

21 Mar 2016Obama: First US president in Cuba since 1959

President Barack Obama arrived in Cuba for a historic visit, the first visit by a US president in 57 years.

Obama and Cuban leader Raul Castro are expected to hold talks on improving ties and boosting bilateral trade, investment and political reform.

Obama's visit is the latest high-point in ties after both countries reopened their embassies in each other's territories last year.

22 Mar 2016Obama, Castro call for end of Cuban embargo

US President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro called for an end to the 54-year economic embargo of Cuba so that economic ties between the two nations can improve.

However, political differences emerged at the press conference held after the event.

Castro refused to answer questions posed to him on Cuba's human rights record, saying that human rights issues "should not be politicized."

2 May 2016US cruise ship makes historic Cuba visit

An American cruise ship, the Adonia set sail to Cuba from the US, carrying over 700 passengers, the first trip in more than 50 years.

The cruise went ahead after Cuba scrapped a ban on its citizens entering or leaving the island by sea.

The US-company operating the cruise, Carnival, was given permission by both the governments to run ships between Florida and Cuba.

28 Oct 2016US abstains from Cuba embargo vote at UN

In line with President Barack Obama's call for ending the US embargo on Cuba, the US for the first time, did not vote against the UN resolution to end the embargo.

191 out of 193 countries approved the resolution with only the US and Israel abstaining.

US ambassador Samantha Power said the US "always voted against this resolution. Today the United States will abstain."