May. The U.S and Cuba agree to an accord that provides for the direct return of people on rafts leaving Cuba illegally.
October. President Clinton announces the first U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) grant to fund non-governmental organizations' pro-democracy projects in Cuba.
The United Nations' General Assembly votes 117 to 3 (38 abstentions) to recommend an end to the U.S embargo of Cuba. Israel and Uzbekistan vote with the U.S.
February. Cuban fighters shoot down two planes in international air space belonging to Brothers to the Rescue, an American anti-Castro group.
March. President Clinton signs the Helms-Burton Act, officially named the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act. The act formalizes the embargo on Cuba and allows lawsuits against foreign companies who deal with Cuban businesses once claimed by U.S. nationals.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Canadian Trade Minister Art Eggleton debate the Helms-Burton Act.