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When Will Cuba Be Open for Business?

It's unclear whether a new U.S. President would lift the 45-year trade embargo, but public opinion favors improved relations between the countries

For 45 years, Fidel Castro had a convenient scapegoat for many of the island's problems: a U.S. trade embargo that since 1962 has barred American companies and individuals from investing in or trading with Cuba.

Ask Cubans why their lives are so difficult and why store shelves are so bare, and they'll respond without hesitation what has been drummed into them by schoolteachers, local news commentators, and Fidel's speeches over the years: "It's because of the U.S. blockade."