Since the 1960s, US policy toward Cuba has largely consisted of isolating the country through economic sanctions. As the Cuban government moved toward a one-party communist state and nationalized US corporate assets, the US imposed sanctions and a partial embargo. In 1961, the US went a step further, breaking diplomatic ties.
Cuba has endured the longest, ongoing sanctions by the United States, though the regulations were minimized last year as a result of Obama administration policy changes, which eased restrictions on family travel and remittances. The US also began talks with the Cuban government as a result of Raul Castro succeeding his brother Fidel Castro in 2006.
Some question whether the lengthy, open-ended nature of US sanctions on Cuba are working against their intended purpose – to incentivize the country to make democratic reforms.
"Because the Cuba sanctions are open-ended and lack meaningful oversight, Cuban officials insist they can have little confidence that the US will actually take significant steps to improve the relationship even if Cuba does," writes a Monitor guest blogger.