Relations between the United States and Cuba have been contentious and intertwined even before the U.S. imposed an economic embargo to Cuba in 1960. A look at the most important events since the United States declared war on Spain in 1898:
- 1898: The United States declares war on Spain.
- 1898: The U.S. defeats Spain. As a result, it gives up all claims to Cuba and cedes to the U.S.
- 1934: The U.S. ceases to intervene in Cuba’s internal affairs, revises Cuba’s quota and changes tariffs to favor Cuba.
- 1953: Fidel Castro leads a botched revolt against Fulgencio Batista regime.
- 1958: The U.S. withdraws military aid to Batista.
- 1959: Castro forced Batista to flee after leading a strong guerrilla army into Havana. Castro becomes prime minister.
- April 1959: Castro unofficially meets U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon during a visit to Washington, D.C.
- 1960: The United States breaks off diplomatic relations with Havana and imposed an official ban on trade after all American businesses in Cuba were nationalized without any compensation. The official prohibition on exports to Cuba except food and medicine is a commercial, economic and financial embargo. It limits American companies from conducting business with Cuban interest.
- 1961: The U.S. supports the invasion by Cuban exiles at the Bay of Pigs. The operation failed and Castro proclaims Cuba a communist state and begins to ally it with the Soviet Union.
- 1962: Cuban missile crisis escalate after Castro, fearing an U.S. invasion, allows the Soviet Union to deploy nuclear missiles on the island. The U.S. released photos of Soviet nuclear missile silos in Cuba which triggered a crisis that took both superpowers to the brink of nuclear war.
- Feb. 7, 1962: The embargo on Cuba was extended to include almost all imports.
THE 1980s AND 1990s
- 1980: 125,000 Cubans, many of them convicts, flee to the U.S. after Castro temporarily lifted restrictions.
- 1993: The U.S. tightens its embargo on Cuba, but introduces some market reforms in order to help its deteriorating economy. This included the legalization of the U.S. dollar, among other reforms.
- 1994: Cuba signs an agreement with the U.S. by which the U.S. agreed to admit 20,000 Cubans annually in an attempt to stop Cuba from releasing an exodus of refugees.
- 1996: U.S. reacts swiftly and makes the U.S. trade embargo permanent after Cuba’s shooting down of two U.S. aircrafts operated by Cuban exiles living in Miami.
- 1998: The U.S. eases restrictions that allow Cuban Americans to send money to relatives in Cuba.
- November 1999: Elian Gonzalez is rescued off the Florida coast after a boat in which his mother, stepfather and others capsized. An intensive campaign by Cuban exiles begins to prevent Elian from rejoining his father in Cuba. After several long court battles, he finally rejoined his father in 2000.
- 2001: Five Cubans convicted in Miami for spying for the Cuban government.
November 2001: U.S. exports food to Cuba for the first time in four decades to help the country cope with the aftermath of Hurricane Michelle. The Cuban government made the request.
- 2002: Prisoners, considered al-Qaeda suspects, taken by American troops in Afghanistan are flown into Guantanamo Bay for interrogation.
- 2003: President George Bush announces new measures designed to end the communist rule in Cuba, which includes tightening a travel embargo to the island and enforcing penalties on illegal cash transfers among other measures.
- August 2006: Fidel Castro undergoes surgery and hands over power of government to his brother Raul Castro.
- 2006: Then Congressman Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., arrives in Cuba with the largest-bipartisan delegation from the U.S. Congress to ever visit the island nation, but is denied to meet with Raul Castro.
- 2007: Raul Castro indicates that he may be open to conversations to mend relations with the U.S.
- 2008: New poll suggests a majority of Cuban-Americans living in Miami want an end to U.S. embargo against Cuba.
- April 2009: President Barack Obama lifts restrictions on family travel and remittances to Cuba.
- December 2009: American citizen Alan Gross is detained in Cuba and accused of spying for Washington.
- 2011: Convicted Cuban agent Rene Gonzalez is freed from a Florida jail. He was part of a group known as the Cuban Five, all convicted of spying and given long sentences to serve in U.S. prisons.
- 2012: Cuba hints that it’s ready to negotiate with Washington on finding a solution on the Gross case.
- Dec. 17, 2014: President Obama and Raul Castro announce restoration of diplomatic ties. Cuban government frees Alan Gross and he arrives to U.S. soil before 11 a.m. eastern time.
- April 12, 2015: President Obama meets with Raul Castro at Summit of the Americas.
- May 29, 2015: U.S. State Department removes Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.
- July 1, 2015: U.S., Cuba announce opening of embassies in each others capitals.
- January 12, 2017: The Obama administration announce the end of the so-called 'wet foot, dry foot' policy that grants Cubans residency upon arrival to the United States.