The United States and Cuba plan to restore diplomatic relations and end more than five decades of fierce animosity that at one point took the world to the edge of nuclear conflict.


Here is a summary of U.S.-Cuba relations since Fidel Castro seized power in a 1959 revolution


Jan. 1, 1959: Cuban Revolution. Castro and his rebel army take power after U.S.-backed former dictator Fulgencio Batista flees island.

June 29, 1960: United States suspends Cuban sugar import quota after Castro nationalizes Texaco refinery.

Oct. 19, 1960: United States begins partial economic embargo against Cuba.

Jan. 3, 1961: Washington breaks diplomatic ties with Cuba.

April 19, 1961: Castro’s troops defeat CIA-backed Cuban exile invasion force at Bay of Pigs.

Jan. 22, 1962: At U.S. urging, the Organization of American States (OAS) suspends Cuba.

Feb. 7, 1962: Full U.S. trade embargo imposed on Cuba.

October 1962: Cuban Missile Crisis. The presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba provokes standoff between Moscow and Washington. Many fear a world war, but Russia reaches a compromise deal with the United States and withdraws the missiles.

Sept. 1, 1977: Cuba and United States establish informal diplomatic missions, or Interests Sections, in Havana and Washington.

April-September 1980: Mariel Boatlift. Cuba allows mass exodus of about 125,000 citizens to the United States, mostly via Mariel port west of Havana.

March 1, 1982:The U.S. State Department adds Cuba to its list of State Sponsors of Terrorism.

Oct. 23, 1992: U.S. President George Bush signs Torricelli Act to tighten embargo on Havana amid severe economic crisis triggered by Soviet bloc’s collapse at start of decade.

Aug. 14, 1993: Havana ends ban on use of U.S. dollars.

August 1994: Rafter Crisis. More than 30,000 Cubans flee island on flimsy boats. Washington and Havana sign immigration accord to stem exodus and agree to a minimum of 20,000 legal entry visas per year for Cubans.

Feb. 24, 1996: Cuba shoots down two civilian planes of the Cuban exile group Brothers to the Rescue, killing four people. Brothers to the Rescue says it was on a humanitarian mission looking for rafters fleeing Cuba. Cuba says they had routinely violated Cuban airspace.

March 1996: Outraged over downing of the planes, U.S. Congress approves Helms-Burton Act, tightening the embargo and requiring a vote of Congress to repeal it. President Bill Clinton, seeking re-election that year, signs the bill into law.

March 20, 1998: Clinton announces renewal of direct passenger charter flights and permission for Cuban-Americans to send remittances to families on island.

January 1998: Pope John Paul visits Cuba, condemning U.S. embargo but also calling for greater freedoms on the island.

Nov. 25, 1999: Elian Gonzalez custody saga starts, when 6-year-old Cuban boy is rescued at sea off U.S. coast after surviving a shipwreck that kills his mother and 10 other Cuban migrants. After a bitter seven-month dispute, which prompted a massive patriotic campaign in Cuba, Elian flies home to Cuba to be with his father.

July 13, 2001: U.S. President George W. Bush orders his administration to more strictly enforce sanctions and pledges increased support for pro-democracy forces on the island.

November 2001: Cuba purchases U.S. agricultural products as the two countries begin their first direct food trade since 1962, under an exception to embargo passed by U.S. Congress.

May 6, 2002: U.S. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton accuses Cuba, along with Libya and Syria, of working to develop biological weapons, a charge Castro denies.

June 30, 2005: New U.S. curbs on travel come into force as Bush administration tightens enforcement of embargo.

July 10, 2006: U.S. government announces increased support for dissidents and more money for anti-Castro broadcasts by Radio and TV Marti.

July 31, 2006: Fidel Castro provisionally cedes power to brother Raul Castro after undergoing surgery for undisclosed intestinal ailment.

Feb. 24, 2008: Raul Castro is elected president by National Assembly, replacing his older brother.

Dec. 3, 2009: Cuba arrests Alan Gross, a U.S. Agency for International Development subcontractor, who had brought banned telecommunications equipment to Cuba and attempted to establish clandestine Internet service for Cuban Jews. He was later sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Jan. 20, 2009: Barack Obama, who has said he wants to take steps toward normalizing relations with Cuba, is sworn in as president. He soon goes on to ease U.S. restrictions on travel and remittances to Cuba.

Nov. 8, 2013: Obama tells a Miami fundraiser, “We have to be creative and we have to be thoughtful and we have to continue to update our policies” on Cuba.

Dec. 14, 2014: Obama announces plan to restore diplomatic relations in major policy shift. Cuba releases Gross as well as an intelligence agent who spied for the United States and had been held in prison for nearly 20 years. In return, Washington releases three Cuban intelligence agents held in the United States. Obama says the United States will open an embassy in Cuba and relax some of the restrictions on commerce and travel between the United States and Cuba.

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