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Map of Cuba

Key Legislation / U.S. Government Actions

Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917
(40 Stat. 411, enacted 6 October 1917).

This law doesn't apply to just one country but during the 1950's and 1960's was used in relation to Cuba.

Researching Cuba: Business, Economy, and U.S. Relations

October 2016

Table of Contents

Key Legislation / U.S. Government Actions
Internet Resources
Books / Articles
LC Subject Headings


Image (left): Cuba
United States. Central Intelligence Agency, 1994
Library of Congress Geography and Map Division

Cuban Democracy Act (Pub.L. 102-484, 106 Stat. 2315).

This act prohibited foreign-based subsidiaries of U.S. companies from trading with Cuba, travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens, and sending family remittances to Cuba.

Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (Pub.L. 87–195, 75 Stat. 424-2).

This was enacted September 4, 1961 and reorganized the structure of existing U.S. foreign assistance programs but §2370 dealt specifically with the embargo of trade with Cuba.

Helms- Burton Act (Pub.L. 104–114, 110 Stat. 785).

The official name of this law is the Cuban Liberty and Democracy Solidarity Act of 1996 though it is also known as the Libertad Act. It strengthened sanctions against Cuba, codified the U.S. embargo on trade and financial transactions, created a private cause of action and provides a path for U.S. nationals with claims to confiscated property in Cuba to file suit in U.S. courts against persons that may be "trafficking" in that property, etc. (This is a timeline that relates to claims External Link by U.S. citizens and corporations)

Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act (Pub.L 106-387; 114 Stat. 1549).

This is known as TSRA, and was passed in 2000 and covers countries other than Cuba but sets strict regulations for trade on commodities and was heavily directed towards Cuba, particularly related to payment/payment systems for goods coming from the country. The act made the trade of certain agricultural commodities and medicine/medical devices permitted. See 66 FR 36683-01 which deals with Exports of agricultural products, medicines, and medical devices to several countries including Cuba.

White House announcements & history under President Barack Obama.

This refers to a series of actions beginning in 2014 that were intended to change the relationship between the two counties undertaken by President Obama over the course of several years particularly in 2015 and 2016. It relates to changes to the Export Administration and Cuban Assets Control regulations. The Presidential Policy Directive issued October 14, 2016 was specifically about the framework around the normalization of relations between the two countries. By extension Treasury and Commerce Amendments lifted restrictions on Cuban cigars and rum for individuals who intend it for personal use only as well as other health, humanitarian, travel, and trade transactions.
The links below are to the archived Obama administration’s web maintained by the National Archives.
Presidential policy Directive (October 14, 2016)
Treasury and Commerce: Further Amendments to Cuba Sanctions Regulations (October 14, 2016)

Last updated: 01/24/2017

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