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The United States embargo against Cuba is a commercial, economic, and financial embargo partially imposed on Cuba in October 1960. It was enacted after Cuba nationalized the properties of United States citizens and corporations and it was strengthened to a near-total embargo on February 7, 1962. Titled the Cuban Democracy Act, the embargo was codified into law in 1992 with the stated purpose of maintaining sanctions on Cuba so long as the Cuban government continues to refuse to move toward "democratization and greater respect for human rights." In 1996, Congress passed the Helms-Burton Act, which further restricted United States citizens from doing business in or with Cuba, and mandated restrictions on giving public or private assistance to any successor government in Havana unless and until certain claims against the Cuban government are met. In 1999, U.S. President Bill Clinton expanded the trade embargo even further by also disallowing foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies to trade with Cuba. In 2000, Clinton authorized the sale of certain "humanitarian" US products to Cuba. The English word 'embargo' is dubbed by its opponents in Cuba and Latin America as el bloqueo, despite the fact that the word 'embargo' exists in Spanish, with an identical meaning in this context. The term 'bloqueo' suggests the presence of a physical blockade by the US Government. Despite this implication, no such blockade exists. The USA does not block Cuba's trade with third-party countries: other countries are not under the jurisdiction of US domestic laws, such as the Cuban Democracy Act. Cuba can, and does, conduct international trade with many third-party countries; Cuba has been a member of the World Trade Organization since 1995. Rationing and shortages of food and consumer goods in Cuba cannot therefore be entirely explained by the US embargo alone. This lack of international participation is cited by Embargo supporters as having prevented its greater effectiveness. (via Freebase)