United States embargo against Cuba

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The United States embargo against Cuba (described in Cuba as el bloqueo, Spanish for "the blockade") is an economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed on Cuba by the United States on February 7, 1962. As of 2005, the embargo is still in effect, making it one of the most enduring trade embargoes in modern history. It remains an extremely controversial issue worldwide, with the General Assembly of the United Nations condemning it for the 13th time in 2004 by a huge margin. Resistance is also growing in the US.

The United States and Cuba have close geographic, economic and historical ties. Cuba was a Spanish colony for 400 years until the end of the 19th century, when a Cuban revolt ousted the Spanish. In December 1898 Spain ceded control of Cuba to the U.S. after it was defeated in the Spanish-American War. The U.S. subsequently granted Cuba its independence in 1902. There was substantial U.S. investment in Cuban production of sugar and tobacco for export, and in tourism, and preferential access for Cuban exports to the United States.

When, on January 7, 1959, Fidel Castro assumed control of Cuba after Batista fled on December 31, the U.S. government initially supported the Cuban Revolution, formally recognizing the new government. However, relations rapidly deteriorated when the new Cuban government passed the first Agrarian Reform Law to begin expropriation of large-scale (largely American-owned) land holdings on May 17, 1959. The compensation offered (based on 20-year bonds at 4.5% interest for the tax-assessed value) was seen as inadequate, and was rejected by American interests. Animosity escalated with the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis. After that, the US promised never to invade Cuba again, but resorted to financial measures instead...

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