"Cuba remains a one-party authoritarian state with a poor record on human rights. Current President Raúl Castro succeeded his long-ruling brother Fidel Castro in 2006, and he is expected to step down in February 2018. Most observers see First Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel as the 'heir apparent' as president, although Raúl likely will continue in his position as first secretary of Cuba's Communist Party. Under Raúl, Cuba has implemented gradual market-oriented economic policy changes over the past decade, but critics maintain that the government has not taken enough action to foster sustainable economic growth. Few observers expect the government to ease its tight control over the political system, especially as the country approaches its political succession in 2018. [...] Congress has played an active role in shaping policy toward Cuba, including the enactment of legislation strengthening and at times easing various U.S. economic sanctions. Since the early 1960s, the centerpiece of U.S. policy has consisted of economic sanctions aimed at isolating the Cuban government. [...] President Trump unveiled a new policy toward Cuba in June 2017 that partially rolls back some of the Obama Administration's efforts to normalize relations. The most significant regulatory changes (effective November 9, 2017) include restrictions on transactions with companies controlled by the Cuban military and the elimination of individual people-to-people travel."
CRS Report for Congress, R44822