16 In July 1964, the OAS members imposed economic sanctions and broke diplomatic relations with Cuba by a 15-4 vote. 17 From 1964 to the end of Johnson’s second term, only Mexico maintained diplomatic relations with Cuba, and Johnson encouraged countries in the West to isolate Cuba as the United States had. While President Johnson was concerned with isolating Cuba, the issue of immigrants from Cuba became a pressing issue during his term. In October 1965, around three thousand Cubans came to the United States. In response, a policy was made—this included the start of the Freedom Flights program in November 1965 along with the Cuban Adjustment Act. The Freedom Flights program allowed around 250,000 Cubans to come into the United States by 1971, and the Cuban Adjustment Act allowed more than 100,000 Cubans already in the United States to apply for permanent residence. 18 In 1975, the OAS voted to end political and economic sanctions against Cuba. This opened a way for each member nation to make their own decision in regards to establishing diplomatic and trade relations with Cuba. On August 21 of that same year, the United States announced that it would allow foreign subsidiaries of United States companies to sell products in Cuba without penalty. 19 The regulations restricting United States citizens from traveling to Cuba were renewable every six months, but President Jimmy Carter did not renew it, and it lapsed on March 19, 1977. Soon after, the regulations on spending United States dollars in
5 Cuba was lifted. In regards to this, President Carter stated, “I hope we can contribute to better relations between the two countries” 20 . President Carter continued improving relations with Cuba on January 1 of 1979 when he allowed Cuban-Americans to visit their families in Cuba. More than 100,000 Cuban-Americans visited during that year. President Reagan was elected in 1980, and after his 1981 inauguration, he instated the most hostile policy against Cuba since the Bay of Pigs Invasion. Despite the efforts made by the Carter administration to improve relations with Cuba, the Reagan administration tightened the embargo. 21 On April 19, 1982 President Reagan reestablished the travel ban that was lifted in 1977 thereby prohibiting United States citizens from spending money in Cuba. On October 4, 1985, President Reagan issued a proclamation banning travel to the United States by Cuban government or Communist party officials. This proclamation barred many students, scholars, and artists from coming to the United States from Cuba. 22 In October of 1990, under President George H. W. Bush, Congress passed the Mack Amendment. This prohibited all trade with Cuba by United States companies located outside of the United States. It also proposed sanctions of aid to any country that purchased any products from Cuba. In 1992, Congressman Robert Torricelli introduced the Cuban Democracy Act which was designed to “wreak havoc on the island.” 23 The Act was passed on October 15, and it prohibited foreign-based
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- Fidel Castro, President of the United States, United States embargo against Cuba, Cuba – United States relations