Cuban Embargo Debate Ensues by Elizabeth Martinez

Five decades after the Cuban embargo was put in place to hopefully bring down the communist government of Cuba, the Caribbean nation’s 11 million people are still under the hard control of the Castro brothers. Recently, a conversation on it’s effectiveness has reached the national stage and many Cuban Americans are finding themselves on opposite sides of the table.

By preventing Cuba from gaining access to U.S. markets, and banning American investors from doing business, the United States hoped to end the communist government through the embargo. However, is the cost of the embargo on both the United States government to prevent interactions, and the effect on the cuban people, worth having an embargo in place that has accomplished nothing since it was enacted? Many say no.

A new poll done by the Atlantic Council of the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center shows that 56 percent of Americans, and 63 percent of Floridians, agree with “normalizing relations or engaging directly” with the Cuban government. With the moral argument aside, many cuban-americans believe the embargo isn’t going to bring down the regime, but is instead hurting the cuban people.

Those who say the embargo should be kept, especially those that have lived through the hardships brought by the Cuban government, have a hard time accepting the possibility of a lift.

The same Atlantic Council poll showed that when respondents were told that Cuba has a “dismal human rights record” and its government “represses virtually all forms of political dissent” many of them flipped. 50% of Americans, and 49% of Floridians favored maintaining the current relationship the US has with Cuba.

Once the argument of the hardship the Cuban people go through is brought up, many Cuban-Americans believe the embargo should be kept as a punishment against the regime. However, this argument is believed to be dying out.

Many Cuban-Americans were born in the United States; the older generations of Cubans, who lived through the regime, are lowering in numbers as old age sets in, and time goes by. And even those that did once live in Cuba, or still have family in Cuba, believe the embargo is counterproductive, and that there should be an alternative way to hurt the regime, and not the people.

The conversation of the lifting of the embargo has begun in the year of Florida’s gubernatorial race. And yes, the governor does not have the power of lifting the embargo, but the very start of this debate shows the sentiment of the younger generation for different action.

Although this could be a ploy for gaining the cuban american vote in Florida for gubernatorial candidates, being that that is how politics works, it is a conversation that should ensue.

The sentiment of the older generation to end the embargo is dying off, while the younger generations struggle to end an embargo that was meant to punish a nation with such horrid human rights violations, but is counterproductive.

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