Cuba: An Economic Primer

This report provides an overview of the Cuban economy. Recent congressional interest in Cuba has centered on the partial lifting of trade sanctions on agricultural products and medicine. The 107th Congress may consider further easing of sanctions or other alterations to the trade embargo in effect since 1962. The paper first presents a brief historical overview of the Cuban economy. This history is characterized by dependence on major powers: first Spain, then the United States, and then the Soviet Union. The report then charts the different, and often conflicting, economic policy courses that Fidel Castro has pursued since his rise to power in 1959.