The Cuban embargo
The Cuban embargo
Cuba is less than 100 miles off the coast of Florida. A flight from Miami would take less than 30 minutes. However, that is not possible. If Americans want to travel to Cuba they need to either have a special visa or leave from another country, because regular flights between Cuba and the United States are non-existent. The US had many investments in Cuba when Fidel Castro and his guerrilla warfare took over Cuba in 1959. Therefore the U.S. was no longer able to steal from Cuba. The U.S. responded by imposing a partial trade embargo against Cuba on October 19th, 1960 (Simon 6). On February 3rd 1962 the US government declared a total embargo on the Republic of Cuba (Simons 6).
Fidel Castro analyzed the purpose of the economic blockade on Cuba’s Televisión- Revolución : “This action is aimed against the Revolution’s achievement and savings… it is an attack on the people, an attempt to keep us from having more schools, teachers, roads, houses, and universities. It is an attempt to obstruct our work of training our young people and giving them scholarships, of building factories so there will be jobs and of developing agriculture… Now, they’re planning something else, thinking that, if they cause economic difficulties, they’ll get the people’s support.
That’s how they think the people will react to their tactic of ‘I make you go hungry and have a hard time: and, because I’m not content with having exploited you for 50 years, with having taken away your minerals and having multiplied my wealth through your work – because, with those investments, I tripled and quadrupled what I’d invested there – with having limited your sovereignty and imposed an amendment on you after you thought you were free that enabled me to intervene in your country; even though I’ve done all that to you and I don’t want you to make any progress, I can count on you now; I’m going to make you grow hungry so I can count on you”‘ (Simon 5,6).
The U.S. said that the goal of the embargo “is to promote a peaceful transition to a stable, democratic form of government and respect for ham rights” in Cuba (Cowal 1). The Helms- Burton Act, also know as the Cuban Democracy Act, allows legal action to be taken against companies or individuals that benefited from properties the Cuban government a quarried after the revolution.
An embargo is something done during times of war. Other times they are put on countries that have been condemned by the international community for wrongdoing. But that is not the case with Cuba. Why is the U.S. at war with Cuba?
If the embargo is in fact because they are communist and to force democratic reform, then why does the U.S. trade with China? Vietnam? Which are both communist. There are also many negative effects caused by the embargo. Even though there have been recent breaks in the Cuban-U.S. relations there will be huge benefits of ending it. The U.S. embargo on Cuba is hurting the U.S. economy without serving a real benefit and should be lifted.
U.S. hypocrisy is a definite part of the embargo. While it is to force democratic reform because Cuba is communist, the U.S. trades with other communist countries. While Castro may run a harsh regime, the Chinese do too. But the U.S. trades with communist China which even has most favored nation trading status providing them with $85 billion trade surpluses (Cowal 7). The U.S. also trades with Vietnam and most other communist countries. Maybe the embargo made sense in the Cold War, but it makes no sense now and days.
Many American’s are starting to notice the stupidity of Cuban policies (Stuart 1) “As a lawyer… I see the blockade as a crime against humanity, in the Nuremburg sense, as a weapon of mass destruction. The blockade is a weapon for the destruction of the masses, and it attacks those segments of society that are most vulnerable… infants and children, the chronically ill, the elderly and emergency medical cases (Simons xii). The embargo targets Cuba’s entire population of eleven million people in an effort to end Castor’s power.
Recent breaks have brought actual hope for lift of the ban. A major milestone in Cuban-U.S. relations also considered a setback for Bush’s hard-line administration happened on September 26-30 2002. It was the Food and Agribusiness Exhibition at Havana’s Pabexpo Center. The Trade fair was made possible by legislations passed by former President Bill Clinton on October 2000. It permitted sale of food and medicine on a cash only basis. The fair far more successful than expected, sales doubling what was previously estimated. Cuba bought 140 million dollars worth of food (Cuba 1).
Every recent poll of Americans shows a majority of Americans favor the removal of the embargo. Americans want to lift the embargo by a margin of 52 to 32 percent according to a poll conducted in 2001 (Cowal 1). In the 106th Congress, members proposed legislation to reduce the embargo and also to end it. In the 107th Congress, members proposed legislations again to reduce the embargo (Cowal 2). In 2002, there is much speculation that the travel ban on Cuba could very likely be eliminated and restrictions on trade will be reduced further (Cowal 2).
The biggest reason why the U.S. embargo on Cuba should be lifted is because the U.S. is losing a great deal of money for not engaging in trade with Cuba. A study done at the Florida International University says the embargo is taking up one billion dollars annually from Florida’s economy alone (Cowal 1). According to independent reports by Rice University energy expert Amy Myers Jaffe, the embargo is costing America’s energy sector anywhere from two to three billion dollars annually (Cowal 1). The U.S.’ economy is losing up to $1.25 billion per year in agricultural exports due to the embargo.
Also the U.S. is losing up to $3.6 billion/year in associated economic output, according to independent reports done bye agriculture economics professors C. Parr Rosson and Flynn Adcock of Texas A&M University (Cowal 1). If the travel ban is lifted from Cuba, an additional 1 million tourists will visit increasing profits of Americas Airlines. The embargo is merely hurting Cuban people and American economy. The United States should engage Cuba like China, Russia, Korea, and other past enemies.
Republican Jeff Flake (R-AZ) says “(the) embargo has failed goal, better way to move to new regime is to swarm the island with U.S. goods and American tourists” (Corchado pp11A).
The forty year embargo against Cuba has failed the goals it was set to accomplish. Started during the era of the Cold War which ended countless years ago, the embargo has damaged many things. The U.S. embargo on Cuba has hurt the U.S. economy without serving a real benefit and should be lifted.