The Embargo and Cuba, a look toward the future

Sep 12, 2018 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

The purpose of this article is to point out how America and Cuba became adversaries and to pinpoint the failures and/or shortfalls, at least in my esteem, of embargoes. The following short and succinct outline portrays the historical events of import that led up to our (America’s) Embargo with them and what has transpired since.

The Cuban flag flying proudly.

In 1958 Fidel Castro and his revolutionaries overthrew Batista’s government in Cuba. During this tumultuous time many Cubans fled Cuba. Some families were split apart. The children sent to America or elsewhere to escape what was happening and the parents remaining in Cuba to sort things out. The vast majority of those Cuban’s who remained believed Fidel was, or would be according to what he told them, a very good thing for them and their country. Thus, they embraced him and his policies wholeheartedly!  (www.historyofcuba.com)

Batista is ousted in a coup.

President Eisenhower.

Move forward one year to 1960. President Eisenhower and the U.S. Government attempted a coup to overthrow Fidel, but it did not work.  In fact, it failed miserably because Fidel is nothing if not crafty. To punish Cuba and Fidel President Eisenhower created an embargo against them prohibiting trade of any kind.  Initially this embargo even excluded medicine and food.  (www.historyofcuba.com)

 

By 1962 John Fitzgerald Kennedy was President of the United States and he decided to broaden the scope of the embargo that began under President Eisenhower. This broadening was to include the importation of any goods made in Cuba with the exception of subsidized medicine or food. About one year later that version of the embargo was discontinued due to pressure from the Soviet Union.  (www.historyofcuba.com)

President Kennedy.

By 1963 the embargo continued to be a hotly debated topic. Russia was backing Cuba and this ran cross to the leaders in the USA. The Kennedy Administration tightened the reins even further. They prohibited travel to Cuba and made it illegal for anyone to provide either financial or commercial aid to Cuba or Cuban’s.  (www.historyofcuba.com)

Mexico had been the only country not in compliance with this provisional embargo between 1964 until 1975. They openly traded with Cuba and both countries benefited from this exchange.  (www.historyofcuba.com)

Mid 1975 the U.S. government had a change of heart about this embargo and all it entailed. Officials in America agreed to allow foreign subsidies of U.S. companies to sell their products in Cuba. However, that was short lived. International circumstances dictated America recant that decision in 1976 unless or until Cuba succumbed to the removal of Cuban troops from Africa.  (www.historyofcuba.com)

 

President Carter.

During Carter’s presidency (1977) relations appeared to improve somewhat with Cuba. President Carter dismissed the travel ban and allowed Americans to travel freely to Cuba. U.S. dollars flooded into Cuba’s marketplace which economically was quite good for both countries. Like any faltering marriage this honeymoon with Cuba had been predicated upon a provisional agreement between the Carter Administration and Cuba whereby Cuba was supposed to remove their troops from Africa, but instead insisted on keeping troops in Africa. Travel was again curtailed, but not banned, leaving many fretting on what might occur next. (www.historyofcuba.com)

1979 saw record numbers of Cuban-American’s making the sojourn to Cuba to visit with friends and family. This scenario was a major milestone since the adoption of the embargo in 1960 by President Eisenhower and his Administration.  Would it last? (www.historyofcuba.com)

From 1980 until 1992 the United States government prohibited all trade with Cuba and halted visitation rights between Cuban-American’s, their families, and friends, in Cuba under any circumstances. The underlying logic behind this crackdown was that America believed they could and would ultimately break and bring down Fidel’s regime if this played favorably into their hands. However, as fate would have it, it did not work. Fidel did not crumble and bow down for America and her iron fist. Instead, this change in governance may have served to strengthen his resolve and weaken our influence with him and his cronies in power.  (www.historyofcuba.com)

Between 1996 and 1998 the United Nation voted many times to discontinue the embargo with Cuba and resume free trade.  During those numerous votes the U.S. and Israel were the only two participating countries to vote against this measure for resumption of commerce with Cuba. Votes repeatedly cast were 157 to 2!  (www.historyofcuba.com)

In 2000, our millennium, marked a milestone year whereby both conservatives and liberals voted to discontinue the embargo with Cuba, yet the embargo continued.  (www.historyofcuba.com )

In 2002 the United States congress took another vote that ginned up even more support within the U.S. government in favor of lifting the embargo with Cuba. An overwhelming bi-partisan majority voted at that time to discontinue this foolish embargo. Only 73 Republican’s voted against it! Yet, the embargo was still in force. (www.historyofcuba.com)

President Bush.

When pointedly asked about the embargo against Cuba President Bush’s standard response was such that easing sanctions against Cuba could only benefit Cuba’s “brutal dictatorship” or Fidel Castro and his regime. To this he (President Bush) added, if Cuba would allow free democratic elections, release held political prisoners, and permit free opposition to his (Castro’s) ruling party, then he (G.W.) would consider easing their embargo. (www.news.bbc.uk.co)

Bush’s typically arrogant, brusque, and judgmental statements regarding the embargo with Cuba were met with heated debate and pointed criticism. Miami Cuban leaders spoke out against the controversial 2000 election debacle in Florida by stating that “You (Bush) have the nerve to go to Miami and speak of honest and free elections after being handed the White House”.  To which I wholeheartedly agree. However, President Bush was accustomed to having his cake and eating it too. (www.news.bbc.uk.co)

President Bush in his usual game of gotcha and getting even trumped up his original ideas for the potential easing the embargo with Cuba by adding more and stricter requirements for Cuban exiles in June of 2004. Please note that during President Clinton’s Administration exiles were allowed visits with relatives in Cuba annually with no maximum daily limit.  Under Bush’s plan visits between exiles and their relatives in Cuba could only come about once every three years with a maximum allowable stay of 14 days. Furthermore, these visits were only allowed between immediate family members; no cousins, aunts, or uncles.  There is also a cap of $50 U.S. dollars which could be spent per day under the Bush plan vs. the $167 U.S. dollars per day allowed under the Clinton Administration.  (www.mojones.com)

 

Raul Castro.

In 2008 Raul Castro took the reins of governing Cuba from his brother, Fidel due to failing health issues. Later that same year residents of Cuba were allowed to own mobile phones and computers for the first time since Castro took over as Dictator. However, they are carefully monitored. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-19576144)

 

In 2011 President Obama again relaxed travel restrictions between resident in the US and Cuba. That opened the door for Cuba to do something meaningful for her people. Cuban leaders broke with tradition and allowed residents to buy and sell private properties for the first time in fifty years. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-19576144)

President Obama.

Pope Benedict visited Cuba in 2012 and sharply criticized America for continuing their crazy embargo with Cuba. Raul et.al. realize that they were losing many of their more brilliant scientific minds and endeavored to create a means to stem that flow out of their country with travel permits. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-19576144)

Raul publicly said in 2013 that he would stand down after his second term in office, which is 2018. He is 86 this year! He has not. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-19576144)

President Obama and Raul discussed a more normalized relationship with one another, country to country in 2014. In 2015 travel restriction were eased again and there were monumental talks between Cuba, the first to take place on their soil in eighty-eight years, and the USA in Cuba discussing a way to resume diplomacy. Our embassies are reopened there and banks are allowed to resume business ties. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-19576144)

Fidel died in 2016. He is 90. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-19576144)

As President Trump assumes his role in the oval office as head of the USA he reverses some of the progress made under President Obama. (2017) Miquel Diaz-Canel becomes President of Cuba in 2018. Previously he was President of the Communist Party there. This is the first non-Castro leader in over six decades. What’s next for Cuba? (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-19576144)

President Trump.

I feel that since Cuba is our closest neighbor, to Key West, FL. that is, we should extend a little neighborly compassion, understanding, and friendship their way by lifting the entire embargo with Cuba and allowing both countries to prosper in the open and free trade of her aftermath.  Follow my logic here. Cuba may be living in the past, but they have quality healthcare and education. Conversely the most powerful nation in the world, the United States, is experiencing rampant inflation, huge trade deficits, trillions of dollars of mounting national debt, and steeply rising educational costs. Furthermore, if we quit this embargo perhaps we might consider offering statehood to Cuba and her new leader might assume the role of governor. Like Puerto Rico we could take Cuba under our umbrella as our sister in the sun.  Whatever the outcome it is a win-win situation for all involved!

 

References:

www.historyofcuba.com

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-19576144

www.news.bbc.uk.co

 

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