After taking steps towards healing the longstanding rift between the U.S. and Cuban governments, President Barack Obama recently renewed the economic embargo against the island nation.
Under the Trading With the Enemy Act, established after World War I, U.S. companies are banned from trading with what are determined to be hostile nations.
In a Sept. 11 memo written to Secretary of
State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Treasury chief Timothy Geithner, Obama said, "I hereby determine that the continuation for one year of the exercise of those authorities with respect to Cuba is in the national interest of
the United States," effectively extending the law that imposed the embargo back in 1962.
Although at this point the extensions are primarily symbolic, it was a momentous moment for the President, who has eased restrictions since coming into power in January. Under Obama, Cuban-Americans are now able to travel freely and send remittances for family members to the island.