With the U.S. election of Donald Trump, parts of Obama-era policies that softened relations with Cuba could be rolled back. Trump is expected to stop U.S. companies from making deals with the Cuban military and tightening travel restrictions to the island. Bringing back Cuban cigar and rum could be banned as well. Get up to speed on the last five decades of American foreign policy toward Cuba.
The U.S. began imposing sanctions against Cuba after Fidel Castro seized power in 1959 and soon after nationalized more than $1 billion in American assets on the island. That's two years before President Barack Obama was even born.
The U.S. ratcheted up sanctions on Cuba in 1960 and 1961 with President John F. Kennedy making the embargo official in 1962.
Diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba broke off in 1961 as tensions between the two nations increased after Cuba signed a trade agreement with the Soviet Union. Relations remained mostly frozen throughout the Cold War.
Cuba remains an autocratic regime - Fidel Castro's brother Raul is president - with a poor record on human rights and a track record of silencing dissent and restricting the rights of its citizens.
The embargo kept American companies from doing business in Cuba, and prohibited most Americans from traveling directly there or spending money as tourists.
In 2013, a common ground blossomed when President Barack Obama shook hands with Castro at Nelson Mandela's funeral in South Africa in a moment that played on TV screens around the world.
In December 2014, Cuba freed 53 political prisoners and significantly relax its restrictions on Internet access. Alan Gross was arrested in 2009 after delivering satellite phones and other communications equipment to Cuba's small Jewish population. He was among the prisoners released.
In January 2015, Obama used executive authority to allow airlines to fly to Cuba and allow Americans to visit Cuba without first obtaining a special license if they are traveling for any of more than a dozen reasons, including family visits, journalism and sports. They also expand the list of goods that can be exported to Cuba and authorize financial institutions to operate more widely in Cuba.
In the past, American citizens could face up to a $65,000 fine for spending money in Cuba, according to the U.S. Treasury Department. The embargo also limits the amount of individuals can send to family living in Cuba.
President Obama's actions made it so Americans returning from a trip to Cuba can now return with up to $400 in Cuban goods, a quarter of which can be spent on alcohol and tobacco. Think Cuban cigars.
Obama announced in April 2015 that he was recommending that Cuba be removed from the terror blacklist after a State Department review. May 29, marked the expiration of a 45-day period when Congress could have blocked the move.
Only Congress can completely end the embargo because it is enshrined into law.
Political leaders and Cuban-Americans have been calling for changes in the U.S.'s policy toward Cuba in recent years.
Cuban refugees in the U.S and their descendants have historically been the most vocal group in calling for a tough U.S. policy against Cuba. But nearly 7 in 10 Cubans now favor reestablishing diplomatic relations with Cuba and about half want the U.S. to end the embargo, according to a Florida International University poll this summer.
Cuba said in 2011 that the economic damage of the U.S. embargo has topped $1 trillion in its five-decade history.
On July 1, 2015, Obama announced that the United States and Cuba are officially restoring diplomatic relations and opening embassies in each other's countries.
On July 20, for the first time since severing ties in 1961 both countries reopened embassies in each other's capitals.
Secretary of State John Kerry attended a ceremony in Havana on Aug. 14, 2105 to raise the flag above the U.S. Embassy for the first time in 54 years.
The U.S. and Cuba signed an agreement on Feb.16 authorizing daily US commercial flights to the communist-ruled island for the first time in more than 50 years. The deal allows up to 110 daily flights to 10 destinations in Cuba, with about 20 of them to the capital Havana, where authorities have ordered renovations to double the capacity of Jose Marti airport.
On Feb. 2, Obama confirmed on Twitter that he will visit Cuba to "advance our progress and efforts that can improve the lives of the Cuban people."
On March 15, the Obama administration announced more changes to past policies. While a travel ban still prevents U.S. tourism in Cuba, now U.S. travelers can engage in individual educational tours of the island. Previously, Americans had to visit the island in groups that planned out their itineraries to make sure they were complying with U.S. government regulations. The new regulations still require travelers to keep records that show their travel had an educational focus. The announcement also allows Cubans to receive salaries in the United States, paving the way for Cuban baseball players to potentially join the Major Leagues without having to defect first. Cuba and Major League Baseball have been negotiating over how Cuba's formidable players could compete in the United States without using human traffickers to smuggle them from the island.
President Obama and the first family arrived in Cuba on March 20. The last U.S. leader to visit was Calvin Coolidge, who voyaged into Havana Harbor on a battleship in 1928.
JetBlue Flight 387 landed in Cuba on Aug. 31, 2016, marking the first direct commercial flight from the U.S. to the island nation.