Time To Lift the Embargo on Cuba?

 

This is my first post on Ricochet — though I am a long-time lurker — and have come to greatly enjoy all the great personalities and the exchange of ideas.

To bring something a little different into the conversation, I would like to hear some of your ideas regarding the US embargo of Cuba.

My take is that if there was ever a good reason for it, the time has long passed and we should be looking to normalize relations with the island.

The day of the Castros will inevitably come to an end in the not-too distant future. Maintaining the present stance toward Cuba, which certainly bears no greater threat toward the USA than any other Latin American country (and probably less than some), seems only to impoverish Cuba and, in a certain sense, the USA as well.

I have been in Cuba legally, but was not even allowed to bring back a bag of their delicious coffee, let alone the cigars, which some of my friends asked me about.

I don’t want to say too much about my experiences just now because there are some potentially sensitive issues. Maybe some day, when conditions improve, I can do that.

Canadians are able to travel to Cuba without restrictions that I am aware of, which is a degree of freedom we Americans don’t enjoy.

What do you say, my friends? Group hug to all.

Image Credit: Flickr user Doug Wheller.

Published in General
Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 99 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    A good example of why sunset clauses are such a good idea.

    No sane member of Congress wants to be “that guy”‘ who champions a bill to drop the embargo, but all sorts of ’em would be totally willing to let the embargo quietly pass into the cold, dark night if there was a sunset clause on it.

    • #31
  2. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    ctlaw: *This is speculation. I have no proof that Canadians have sex.

    Only in canoes.

    • #32
  3. user_5186 Inactive
    user_5186
    @LarryKoler

    ctlaw:

    Byron Horatio:

    So Larry, are you also in favor of stopping our free trade policies with China? The current regime is the unbroken successor to the one that murdered over 60 million of its own citizens through famine and death camps. I would argue that China became slightly more civilized with capitalism. And Cuba could do the same.

    But you have no ability to give them any capitalism when you end the embargo.

    All trade will pass through the government and the government will use it to maintain power. Ironically it may lead to less capitalism. With an embargo or other pressure on the government (see below), there is pressure on the government to start to open to capitalism (see Glasnost). With the government controlling your expanded trade, it will be able to self-support. When such a government is able to self-support (as previously done via aid (e.g., Soviet or Venezuelan aid to Cuba) or international criminal activity (NorK counterfeiting of everything)), there is not such pressure.

     Yes, Byron, ctlaw puts it very well. As to China: China has honest to goodness capitalism and to the extent it’s free they have a successful economy.

    • #33
  4. bowmanhome11@verizon.net Member
    bowmanhome11@verizon.net
    @JoelB

    Richard O’Shea -We should have normalized relations years ago. When the first McDonalds opened in downtown Moscow, people would wait in line for hours to try a Big Mac. I think it cost them a week’s wages. It was the beginning of the end for the Soviets.

    I met a young woman in Cuba  who told me how her grandmother told her of taking the boat to Miami for a weekend of shopping – pre-1958. People have some memory of how it was. When Cubans come to the US they find even an average store in a medium-sized city has far more selection than they ever found on the island. There seems to be a demand for something better than the status quo. I think that, as in China, the government will eventually begin to respond.

    Misthiocracy -A good example of why sunset clauses are such a good idea. 
    Oh, yes!

    I’m having a little trouble responding in the normal way now – Some of the website’s famous glitchiness, I suppose.

    • #34
  5. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Welcome to posting, Joel!

    I’m inclined to lift the embargo, too, though it certainly is upsetting to think that the Castros will have managed to have escaped justice in this world (all the more reason to hope for it in the next).

    If there were a way to offer lifting the embargo in exchange for some minor concessions (e.g., Gross’s release and perhaps that of a few Cubans), I’d be interested. Ideally, I’d prefer something that Raul would reject so that we could offer them again to whomever his successor is. If Raul does accept the conditions, all the better.

    • #35
  6. MLH Inactive
    MLH
    @MLH

    Randy Weivoda:

    . . .. Just allow individuals and companies to trade.

    But would the Castro regime let them? 

    • #36
  7. user_138562 Moderator
    user_138562
    @RandyWeivoda

    MLH:

    Randy Weivoda:

    . . .

    But would the Castro regime let them?

    Perhaps not, but at least then Castro – rather than the U.S. government – gets the blame for keeping the the Cuban people cut off.

    • #37
  8. MLH Inactive
    MLH
    @MLH

    Randy Weivoda:

    MLH:

    Randy Weivoda:

    . . .

    But would the Castro regime let them?

    Perhaps not, but at least then Castro – rather than the U.S. government – gets the blame for keeping the the Cuban people cut off.

     But if Cuba is already trading with other countries, why is life for the average Cuban so poor? 

    • #38
  9. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    Randy Weivoda: Perhaps not, but at least then Castro – rather than the U.S. government – gets the blame for keeping the the Cuban people cut off.

    Just like the thugs ruling Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, etc., get the blame for their countries’ problems rather than the US.

    • #39
  10. user_5186 Inactive
    user_5186
    @LarryKoler

    Randy Weivoda:

    MLH:

    Randy Weivoda:

    . . .

    But would the Castro regime let them?

    Perhaps not, but at least then Castro – rather than the U.S. government – gets the blame for keeping the the Cuban people cut off.

     You must live in a different world than I do. In my world America is the bad guy — this is a known thing — the reasons are changed to suit the occasion. The notion that America won’t get the blame is laughable. This particular left wing love affair is based on true devotion and ideology — facts have not a whit of effect in how things are portrayed by our  media.

    • #40
  11. user_5186 Inactive
    user_5186
    @LarryKoler

    ctlaw:

    Randy Weivoda: Perhaps not, but at least then Castro – rather than the U.S. government – gets the blame for keeping the the Cuban people cut off.

    Just like the thugs ruling Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, etc., get the blame for their countries’ problems rather than the US.

     Yes, exactly like that — that’s what I was trying to say — you just said it better and earlier (by seconds).

    • #41
  12. Whiskey Sam Inactive
    Whiskey Sam
    @WhiskeySam

    Jason Rudert:

    The day of Fidel will end in the not too distant future. His brother Raul will be dead in a few years, too. Do you guys think the Communist government there will survive after the cult of personality has died out? I doubt it. They’ll probably stay left wing like Venezuela or Bolivia are now, but is that enough to keep the embargo going? We don’t embargo those countries.

     Did the deaths of Stalin, Mao, or the Kims end it in their countries?

    • #42
  13. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    Tom Meyer, Ed.: I’m inclined to lift the embargo, too, though it certainly is upsetting to think that the Castros will have managed to have escaped justice in this world (all the more reason to hope for it in the next).

    The Castros and their friends need to be killed with extreme prejudice. Letting them live is incompatible with any positive future for Cuba.

    The civilized world’s 20th century reluctance to kill leftist thugs nearly always comes back to bite.

    • #43
  14. user_1938 Inactive
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    If I remember right, diplomatic history is Claire’s specialty. I’d like to hear her thoughts on this embargo specifically and also on embargoes in general. 

    Before we nullify the Cuban embargo, we should all agree on what exactly the intended function was supposed to be. Was it to make the Cuban people unhappy with their government and apt to rebel? Or was it merely to limit Castro’s own funding, after he had stolen from his own people, so that he couldn’t afford advanced weaponry and a significant military?

    • #44
  15. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    Comparisons with China are not all too relevant. The Chinese leadership itself decided to shift to more open markets, and normalize relations with us. 

    Second, people forget that the rest of the world has no “embargo” on Cuba. Europeans, Canadians, Latin Americans etc. can trade mostly freely with Cuba and travel there.

    Where is the evidence that any of this tourism or trade with Cuba has shifted power away from the Castros? Nowhere. They are just as powerful as before, and they arrest and murder people at will just as before. 

    “Normalizing” relations with communist dictatorships only…prolongs…their life. We “normalized” relations with the USSR and shipped them grain and corn to make up for their failing economy. And we added about 10 years to their existence. S.Korea tries to “normalize” relations with the North by setting up industries in “free trade zones” in NK. All it does is provide the Kims with hard cash to continue their buffoonery. 

    All the tourists that go to Cuba from Europe etc. provide the Castros with hard cash to continue their reign. 

    The problem with the US “embargo” is that it’s not followed by anyone else.

    • #45
  16. virgil15marlow@yahoo.com Coolidge
    virgil15marlow@yahoo.com
    @Manny

    For me, only when the Castros are dead or renounce communism.

    • #46
  17. virgil15marlow@yahoo.com Coolidge
    virgil15marlow@yahoo.com
    @Manny

    Manny:

    For me, only when the Castros are dead or renounce communism.  Too many good American Cubans have had their families locked up, tortured, property taken, or killed.  The history is bitter and can only be softened with a new generation.  Remember they were letting the Soviets plant nuclear missiles aimed at our shores. 

    • #47
  18. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    Several issues to be considered:

    1) Culture plays a role in whether such measures work or not. In some cultures, when things get bad enough, people will rebel (like happened in E.Europe). In some other cultures, like Korea, no matter how bad things get, people don’t rebel. Cubans seem to be way too “laid back” to be the rebellious kind.

    2) All communist regimes reply for their survival on foreign trade. That is what makes or breaks them. When lacking cash, they barter. But there’s no way for them to exist if they don’t trade. That’s what eventually destroyed the communist regimes in E.Europe. 

    So blocking off trade works. 

    3) The problem, of course, is that trade and travel to Cuba aren’t “blocked”. It’s simply the US. The rest of the world has no problems. 

    Now, given that it doesn’t actually cost us anything to keep an “embargo” on Cuba, and it certainly doesn’t help the Castros, then I see no problem in maintaining it. Cuba isn’t so important to us as to “intensify” it, but I see no reason to help the Castros by giving them more cash.

    • #48
  19. Albert Arthur Coolidge
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    http://hotair.com/archives/2014/09/06/where-could-cuba-go-to-recruit-spies-in-the-us/

    • #49
  20. user_138562 Moderator
    user_138562
    @RandyWeivoda

    MLH:

    Randy Weivoda:

    Perhaps not, but at least then Castro – rather than the U.S. government – gets the blame for keeping the the Cuban people cut off.

    But if Cuba is already trading with other countries, why is life for the average Cuban so poor?

    Life is so poor for them because communism doesn’t work.  You know this and I know this.  But the embargo gives the Castro regime something external to point at and say “That’s the cause of our hardship.”  Many Cubans accept that explanation as truth.  Remove the embargo and at least some Cubans may decide that communism itself has been the problem. 

    We’ve had this embargo for two generations now and it hasn’t weakened Castro’s grip on the country, so what is the point of continuing it?  How many decades of failure do we need before we try something else?

    • #50
  21. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    Randy Weivoda: But the embargo gives the Castro regime something external to point at and say “That’s the cause of our hardship.”  Many Cubans accept that explanation as truth. 

     Every communist dictatorship always blames their hardships on an external force. It doesn’t have to be real. It’s not as if the people in these countries have access to external news. 

    In my Old Country, the communist regime always blamed the “embargo” for the hardships, even though there was no embargo at all, from anyone. In the Soviet Union they always blamed it on “foreign agents, saboteurs and wreckers”.

    So this argument can’t hold water. 

    Randy Weivoda: We’ve had this embargo for two generations now and it hasn’t weakened Castro’s grip on the country, so what is the point of continuing it?  How many decades of failure do we need before we try something else?

     It hasn’t helped them either. Removing the “embargo” will only help the Castros maintain a grip on power. “Something else”? Sure. Lets try being more aggressive. But Cuba isn’t a priority, so it won’t happen. 

    • #51
  22. user_5186 Inactive
    user_5186
    @LarryKoler

    AIG: ten more “likes”. Excellent responses — thanks.

    • #52
  23. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    Welcome to the fray, JoelB!  Feel free to join us on the AMU (details on my profile page) to talk more about this…I had an elementary school classmate – in the late-1960s – whose family were refugee emigres from Cuba to northeast Ohio.  This was culture shock for them and a learning experience for me.

    • #53
  24. bowmanhome11@verizon.net Member
    bowmanhome11@verizon.net
    @JoelB

    Manny:

    Manny:

    For me, only when the Castros are dead or renounce communism. Too many good American Cubans have had their families locked up, tortured, property taken, or killed. The history is bitter and can only be softened with a new generation. Remember they were letting the Soviets plant nuclear missiles aimed at our shores.

     Manny,
    Just to stir the pot, what do you say to the theory that the “Cuban missile crisis” was brought on when the Russian leadership, perceiving a weak and inexperienced American president, decided to take advantage of the situation?

    • #54
  25. WandaLou Inactive
    WandaLou
    @WandaLou

    I think we cannot “normalize” relations with Cuba until Castro’s prisons have been emptied of all the political prisoners.
    Anyone who has read Humberto Fontova’s articles about the Castros and Cuba would not visit Cuba.  In fact, I do not think any U.S. citizens should visit Cuba except to liberate those prisoners.

    • #55
  26. Herbert E. Meyer Contributor
    Herbert E. Meyer
    @HerbertEMeyer

    First, welcome to Ricochet, and congratulations on a post that’s drawn so many interesting and intelligent comments.

    You ask: Should we lift the embargo?  I ask: What do we want to happen?  If the objective is to make life more pleasant for Cubans, it’s probably a good idea.  But if the objective is to help Cubans overthrow their dictatorship and — finally — get a democracy, lifting the embargo may not be such a good idea.

    Now that you’re raised the issue of “Cuba” let’s have a serious conversation about what we want to happen there.  Then let’s set out a strategy to accomplish that objective.  And then we’ll know whether lifting the embargo now is a good, or a bad, idea.

    In other words, let’s not make the usual Washington mistake of arguing about what route to take before deciding where we want to go.

    • #56
  27. rico Inactive
    rico
    @rico

    Herbert E. Meyer: Now that you’re raised the issue of “Cuba” let’s have a serious conversation about what we want to happen there. Then let’s set out a strategy to accomplish that objective. And then we’ll know whether lifting the embargo now is a good, or a bad, idea.

    In other words, let’s not make the usual Washington mistake of arguing about what route to take before deciding where we want to go.

    Thank you for this, Mr. Meyer.
    If only more Americans were willing to approach complex issues this way…

    • #57
  28. user_428379 Thatcher
    user_428379
    @AlSparks

    It’s interesting to me that you visited Cuba but don’t want to talk about it.

    This isn’t a hot button issue for me.  If the embargo were to end, I wouldn’t get too excited, mostly because we have relations with other countries that are bad actors.

    But I tend towards maintaining the embargo.  I figure that ending it will not benefit the ordinary Cuban, but will benefit the Communist elite in Cuba, whether the Castro brothers are around or not.

    Making it easier for U.S. citizens to travel there doesn’t factor into my feelings on the issue.  I’ve done some traveling outside the U.S., but have had no desire to visit dictatorships, simply because I have no desire to be under their jurisdiction.  What I find particularly distasteful about visiting Cuba is how well they treat tourists in ways that are not available to the ordinary Cuban citizen.  For example, that great coffee you bought, but couldn’t bring back to the U.S.  Was that bought in a tourist store that is forbidden to an ordinary Cuban?  I’ve read they have them.

    Perhaps that’s one of the things you don’t want to talk about because of “sensitivities.”

    If I had relatives there, I might go visit them.  But I wouldn’t hang around after visiting.

    • #58
  29. user_494971 Contributor
    user_494971
    @HankRhody

    Herbert E. Meyer:Now that you’re raised the issue of “Cuba” let’s have a serious conversation about what we want to happen there. Then let’s set out a strategy to accomplish that objective. And then we’ll know whether lifting the embargo now is a good, or a bad, idea.

    In other words, let’s not make the usual Washington mistake of arguing about what route to take before deciding where we want to go.

    You know what I want in Cuba? I want the Havana of the early part of the last century back; the Havana where Hemingway sat in bodegas sipping on rum and coke. I want cheap and abundant cane sugar. But most of all I want Freedom for the Cubans.

    We say that the embargo doesn’t work; that communism makes the Cubans poor. I say that the embargo doesn’t hurt; that communists would still be poor without it. At the very least with the embargo in place we are clear that Cuba is ruled by communists, that they are evil and that they shouldn’t be supported.

    Would that we were so clear about China.

    • #59
  30. Richard O'Shea Coolidge
    Richard O'Shea
    @RichardOShea

    Hank Rhody:

    Herbert E. Meyer:Now that you’re raised the issue of “Cuba” let’s have a serious conversation about what we want to happen there. Then let’s set out a strategy to accomplish that objective. And then we’ll know whether lifting the embargo now is a good, or a bad, idea.

    We say that the embargo doesn’t work; that communism makes the Cubans poor. I say that the embargo doesn’t hurt; that communists would still be poor without it.

    If we keep doing exactly what we have been doing for the last 50 years, the Castro Brothers will die of old age in their beds.  It hasn’t worked.  Ending the embargo and engaging with Cuba would be a different strategy, and perhaps successful. If not, when the Castros do go to their reward, the US will be engaged and perhaps in a position to have some influence.

    • #60
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.