"Cuba under Fidel Castro remains a hard-line communist state with a poor record on human rights - a record that has worsened since 2003. Since the early 1960s, U.S. policy toward Cuba has consisted largely of isolating the island nation through comprehensive economic sanctions. Another component of U.S. policy consists of support measures for the Cuban people, including private humanitarian donations and U.S.-sponsored radio and television broadcasting to Cuba. The Bush Administration has further tightened restrictions on travel, on sending private humanitarian assistance to Cuba, and on the payment process for U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba. While there appears to be broad agreement on the overall objective of U.S. policy toward Cuba - to help bring democracy and respect for human rights to the island - there are several schools of thought on how to achieve that objective. Some advocate maximum pressure on the Cuban government until reforms are enacted; others argue for lifting some U.S. sanctions that they believe are hurting the Cuban people. Still others call for a swift normalization of U.S.-Cuban relations."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32730