Clinton's new memoir, Hard Choices, reveals that Clinton advised President Obama to lift the embargo. "Since 1960, the United States had maintained an embargo against the island in hopes of squeezing [Fidel] Castro from power, but it only succeeded in giving him a foil to blame for Cuba's economic woes," Clinton writes.
The U.S. has eased economic sanctions against Cuba in recent years. President Obama lifted certain travel restrictions in 2009, allowing family members to visit and send remittances to the country. Tourism is still prohibited because the Cuban military operates the country's lucrative tourism industry, but “educational” trips serve much the same purpose.
While these gradual changes have met little resistance, supporters of the embargo contend that its unilateral removal would fritter away one of the United State's few bargaining chips with the Cuban regime. “Instead of strengthening [Cuban President Raul Castro] by lifting the embargo now, we should keep our powder dry and use it to strengthen democracy and influence his successor,” Marc Theissen said in 2008.