On September 11, President Barack Obama extended Cuba’s status as an “enemy” under a 1917 law called the Trading with the Enemy Act. North Korea was removed in 2008 – Cuba is the only country with this special designation.
Ironically, by extending Cuba’s designation as an enemy, Obama preserved his executive authority to chip away at the laws – codified by US Congress – that stand in the way of full normalization with Cuba. Obama put his authority to work today by further easing sanctions with Cuba in what is developing as a brick-by-brick dismantling of the complex web of US laws and restrictions related to Cuba.
The Helm-Burton Act is perhaps the most contentious of the cold-war era laws enacted to isolate Cuba following the 1959 communist revolution and the Cuban missile crisis.
Polls conducted to determine American attitudes toward Cuba are almost universally supportive of full normalization. One such poll by University of South Florida (Sarasota-Manatee) researchers shows that Americans overwhelmingly support the idea of traveling to Cuba for tourism.