The United States (the “US”) has extended its trade sanctions on Cuba for another year, until 14 September 2017. In the end of 2014, President Obama announced that is was his goal to normalise the relationship between the US and Cuba, after decades of hostility, and the US has steadily eased its sanctions on the country since that time. However, on 13 September 2016 he announced that continuing the sanctions was in the national interest of the US.
On June 23 2016, in a speech to the Truman Conference 2016, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough set out the factors behind the Obama administration’s policy of rapprochement with Cuba, and highlighted some of the limitations of sanctions as a foreign policy tool.
The full text of the speech can be found here.