In 1962, President Kennedy signed Proclamation 3447, which established the embargo against Cuba to reduce “the threat posed by its alignment with the communist powers,” in response to the confiscation of American property in Cuba under Castro’s newly installed rule.
Fifty years later, the embargo is still in place and has not, in any way, dismantled or uprooted the communist regime.
It’s true that Cuba at one point “served as the Soviet Union’s proxy in the Western Hemisphere.” But now, years after the dismantlement of the Soviet Union, Cuba is just a poor and dysfunctional nation and no longer poses a threat to American security.
Instead of hurting Castro’s government, the embargo has enhanced his rule, allowing him to tell the Cuban people that the failures of his communist regime are not results of his actions. The common Cuban has come to believe that the poverty they’ve been facing since, and before, the end of the Cold War is a result of the embargo.
Sure, the embargo limits the goods offered to the Cuban people, but the damage done by Castro’s own policies is much worse.
But should we really say we should not trade or have any sort of relation with Cuba because of Castro’s constant anti-American remarks? Or because of constant human rights abuses committed by Castro’s regime? If that’s the case, then why do we interact with North Korea and Saudi Arabia, both known for their notorious human rights violations?
Why should we continue to allow the Cuban government to blame us for their failures? Why not lift the embargo and show the Cuban people that the reason why they’re facing the shortage of goods is because their government and leader is a failure and is really is to blame?
If the embargo is lifted, then the Cuban people will no longer be deprived of low cost and good quality goods that come from the United States. The Cuban people will be able to work with American companies and their dependence on their government will cease to exist. And, assuming this happens and they no longer depend on their government, we might just be able to see some change occur in the island.
Throughout these fifty years, Americans have been unable to trade with and invest in Cuba and only recently was it that both the United States and Cuba opened up travel restrictions between the nations.
Cuba is also beginning to allow the creation of a private sector, allowing people to own their own businesses, which is needed to fight poverty. If the embargo is lifted, then it will allow the development of a thriving private sector, which might ultimately be beneficial to the US.
Opening up trade with Cuba will allow new information and ideas to reach the island, along with the spread of internet and social media, which the Cuban people are aware exist and are interested in.
The embargo has not affected either the United States or Cuba in any dramatic way. If lifted, both the US and Cuba will benefit from a new trade partner and new relations.
According to the Atlantic Council, 63% of Floridians believe that the embargo should be lifted, a record high.
So why not lift the embargo? If in the last fifty years, nothing has been accomplished, why not just lift it now and see what happens? Nothing will continue to happen if we don’t take action for another fifty years.