On February 7, 1962, an executive order by President John F. Kennedy banning all imports and exports to and from Cuba went into full effect. This order furthered action taken against Cuba by the US Congress in the form of the Cuban Democracy Act [PDF], resulting in a near full embargo against the nation. It was strengthened in the 1990s through the Helms-Burton Act and has been strengthened and loosened continually over the past forty years. The embargo still stands today as the longest trade embargo in modern history, despite calls from the United Nations (UN) and other international organizations to end it.
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