U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration imposes tougher sanctions on companies trading with Cuba in comparison with previous presidential administrations, a Cuban deputy trade minister said on Saturday.
“The total sum of sanctions imposed in regard to physical and legal entities by the current [U.S.] government exceeds $1.1 billion,” Cuban Vice Minister of Foreign Trade and Investments Orlando Hernandez Guillen said.
The U.S. government measures are also directed against investors, who are not able to invest into the Cuban economy as, according to the embargo law, they may lose their right to work on the American market, he added.
The United States began its embargo on Cuba, which has become the longest economic blockade in history, on October 19, 1960, after Cuba nationalized the properties of U.S. citizens and corporations.
The global community, including Washington's allies Canada and the European Union, have long been opposed to the embargo. In 1996, Washington toughened the sanctions further by barring third countries' commercial ships en route to and from the communist island from entering U.S. ports.
Under Barack Obama, the United States has loosened money transfer and travel restrictions on Americans with relatives in Cuba, but demanded political and economic reforms from the country as condition for lifting the embargo.