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.

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  1. Richard O'Shea Coolidge
    Richard O'Shea
    @RichardOShea

    Bonus:  Cuban cigars
    Even the Communists haven’t been able to ruin them…….

    • #61
  2. Gleeful Warrior Inactive
    Gleeful Warrior
    @GleefulWarrior

    Fidel is 88 and Raul is 83. Another ten or fifteen years won’t kill anyone, except them….hopefully. My concern is the political effect on Cubans. I wouldn’t want normalization to be used as a victory for the Castros (which is what would absolutely happened) and be leveraged by them (and their cronies) as a prop for continuing the current regimes’ “tenor” after they die. It’s said that there’s an element of the population that’s just “waiting” for them to kick. It’s been fifty plus years…what’s the hurry?

    • #62
  3. user_49770 Inactive
    user_49770
    @wilberforge

    The sanctions and treatment of Cuba are truly an anomaly the the backwater visions of politics. Given the idea that when the Castro brothers may expire in time this will resolve the issues there is really open to some deeper thoughts.

    Address how the idea of a new form of governance, whatever it may be and the rethinking involved.  Economics are not everything and assumptions are a cruel master in the descision making of such matters when it comes to populations.

    Should American interests take hold there for such a small island, it would make large ripples in the global pond. Try thinging forward for a change.

    • #63
  4. billy Inactive
    billy
    @billy

    Albert Arthur:

    Here’s how I’d like to end the embargo: let’s overthrow the government in Cuba and take the island back as US territory.

     Good God, that’s one headache we do not need. It’s bad enough that we are responsible for Detroit and California.

    • #64
  5. user_1938 Inactive
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    America’s primary interest in Cuba seems to be the same today as it was during the Cold War: it’s dangerous to have a nation allied with our more powerful enemies that close to our borders. In recent years, we have detected (belatedly) Russian attack submarines in the Gulf of Mexico. We don’t want the Russians or Chinese to have a friendly navy base that near to us. 

    Does an embargo help to minimize that threat? 

    If the majority of Cubans shared our values and were able to secure a free government with a burgeoning economy, that might align their interests more with ours than with our enemies. Is there any cultural movement among Cubans in that direction? If they were so inspired, would they still lack the power to realize it without American aid of some sort? 

    I agree that conquest might be the surest way to reshape their society in our favor, but I also agree with Billy that it would be a bridge too far at this point. We have enough challenges. Besides, even if we had unlimited resources and our attention wasn’t split, voters wouldn’t endorse conquest. At most, our officials are willing to politely babysit a foreign society (Iraq) while refusing to impose Western standards.

    • #65
  6. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Albert Arthur:

    I’m sure Zafar will argue tirelessly in favor of Cubans right of return.

    Predictably, I do think they have that right. 

    • #66
  7. HVTs Inactive
    HVTs
    @HVTs

    JoelB:

    Jason Rudert:

    We probably should have when the USSR fell apart. What’s keeping it going now is that no American politician wants to deal with all the Cuban-Americans who would want their property back. That constituency is just big enough to keep the embargo in place, but there’s no payoff, only headaches for anyone in office in this country.

    I don’t disagree with you, but is it realistic after more than 50 years to expect that restoration of the property will happen under any scenario?

    Why isn’t it realistic? Would you deny family of Holocaust victims their property if it could be identified? That was about 70 years ago.  Is there a statue of limitations for communists but not Nazis?

    • #67
  8. HVTs Inactive
    HVTs
    @HVTs

    Byron Horatio:

    How is it that we have free trade with communist China but somehow rationalize an embargo of a country that is our next door neighbor?

    The answer is that anti-Communist Chinese Americans don’t hold the key to winning Electoral College-rich Florida.

    • #68
  9. Albert Arthur Coolidge
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    billy:

    Albert Arthur:

    Here’s how I’d like to end the embargo: let’s overthrow the government in Cuba and take the island back as US territory.

    Good God, that’s one headache we do not need. It’s bad enough that we are responsible for Detroit and California.

    We could do a swap.

    • #69
  10. HVTs Inactive
    HVTs
    @HVTs

    Larry Koler: The international “community” means the international press.

     Actually, when you really think about it . . . it means absolutely nothing.  It’s a term employed for rhetorical effect and means whatever the writer or the reader wants it to mean.  It implies “the world agrees with me” but wisely avoids trying to actually support that claim with objective evidence.  It’s essentially a conceit that no one should take seriously but is free to employ as circumstances dictate.  It costs nothing and throws most hound dogs off the trail.

    • #70
  11. Byron Horatio Inactive
    Byron Horatio
    @ByronHoratio

    Forget China.  The fact is that an embargo is meaningless if you’re the only country that does it.  For that reason alone, we should lift it.  The status quo weakens the regime not one bit.  

    • #71
  12. HVTs Inactive
    HVTs
    @HVTs

    Byron Horatio:

    Forget China. The fact is that an embargo is meaningless if you’re the only country that does it. For that reason alone, we should lift it. The status quo weakens the regime not one bit.

     Were this true, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.  If the one country is the US, it matters a great deal.  If the US is 90 miles away, that goes up by a factor of 100.  Cuba is immensely weakened by the embargo; Castro, not so much.  The impact to us is negligible.

    • #72
  13. user_428379 Thatcher
    user_428379
    @AlSparks

    billy:

    Albert Arthur:

    Here’s how I’d like to end the embargo: let’s overthrow the government in Cuba and take the island back as US territory.

    Good God, that’s one headache we do not need. It’s bad enough that we are responsible for Detroit and California.

    Humor aside, we no longer have the confidence in ourselves as moral arbiters to do something like that.  We did after WWII in Germany and Japan.  But no longer.

    • #73
  14. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    Byron Horatio:

    Forget China. The fact is that an embargo is meaningless if you’re the only country that does it. For that reason alone, we should lift it. The status quo weakens the regime not one bit.

    Or turn it into a blockade. 

    • #74
  15. billy Inactive
    billy
    @billy

    Albert Arthur:

    billy:

    Albert Arthur:

    Here’s how I’d like to end the embargo: let’s overthrow the government in Cuba and take the island back as US territory.

    Good God, that’s one headache we do not need. It’s bad enough that we are responsible for Detroit and California.

    We could do a swap.

     Works for me!

    • #75
  16. user_1938 Inactive
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    HVTs:

    JoelB:

    Jason Rudert:

    We probably should have when the USSR fell apart. What’s keeping it going now is that no American politician wants to deal with all the Cuban-Americans who would want their property back. That constituency is just big enough to keep the embargo in place, but there’s no payoff, only headaches for anyone in office in this country.

    I don’t disagree with you, but is it realistic after more than 50 years to expect that restoration of the property will happen under any scenario?

    Why isn’t it realistic? Would you deny family of Holocaust victims their property if it could be identified? That was about 70 years ago. Is there a statue of limitations for communists but not Nazis?

    It probably isn’t realistic because there would need to be a sufficient threshold for evidence of prior ownership to prevent opportunists from making false claims. How does one provide such evidence? Dictatorships not only destroy records but also falsify them, making surviving records unreliable. I don’t know how this was handled after the Holocaust, but I’m sure restoring property stolen during dictatorship and/or exile is easier said than done.

    If it is indeed a realistic goal, then it would be the responsibility of the honorable Cuban government which theoretically would supplant the Castros, not the responsibility of the US. That is, unless we conquered Cuba, which we obviously won’t do anytime soon.

    • #76
  17. user_5186 Inactive
    user_5186
    @LarryKoler

    HVTs:

    Larry Koler: The international “community” means the international press.

    Actually, when you really think about it . . . it means absolutely nothing. It’s a term employed for rhetorical effect and means whatever the writer or the reader wants it to mean. It implies “the world agrees with me” but wisely avoids trying to actually support that claim with objective evidence. It’s essentially a conceit that no one should take seriously but is free to employ as circumstances dictate. It costs nothing and throws most hound dogs off the trail.

     No, I think you are wrong on this. The “international community” never sides with us Republicans or conservatives. It’s a true block of content and opinion and influence that is entirely owned by people to the left of the Democratic Party.
    Dennis Prager makes a good point on this, too: He says that we are often told that the world hates us but he says that it’s not true, that in fact the world by and large likes and loves America –that’s why they want to come here. It’s the international left and the domestic left who hate America. 

    • #77
  18. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    HVTs: Cuba is immensely weakened by the embargo; Castro, not so much.

     Cuba and Castro are the same thing. 

    • #78
  19. user_521942 Member
    user_521942
    @ChrisWilliamson

    The State Department has designated Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism. That’s enough for me to keep the embargo in place.

    • #79
  20. HVTs Inactive
    HVTs
    @HVTs

    Aaron Miller: It probably isn’t realistic because there would need to be a sufficient threshold for evidence of prior ownership to prevent opportunists from making false claims. How does one provide such evidence? … If it is indeed a realistic goal, then it would be the responsibility of the honorable Cuban government which theoretically would supplant the Castros, not the responsibility of the US

    You’ve explained why it’s difficult. No argument . . . damned hard. It won’t always yield satisfactory answers and there will be competing claims. So what? Tracking Jewish assets through Swiss banks isn’t easy either. As to responsibility, of course it’s not our responsibility. That doesn’t mean US courts won’t be used by enterprising lawyers to get what their clients want.

    • #80
  21. HVTs Inactive
    HVTs
    @HVTs

    Larry Koler: No, I think you are wrong on this. The “international community” never sides with us Republicans or conservatives. … Dennis Prager makes a good point on this, too: He says that we are often told that the world hates us but he says that it’s not true … It’s the international left and the domestic left who hate America.

    So, you use the term pejoratively to mean influential anti-conservatives; to mean Leftists somewhere out ‘there.’ You think that’s how Maureen Dowd uses it?  That’s the point: everyone is free to use the term however they choose because it has no fixed meaning.  At the most basic level, exactly who/what comprises this “international community”?  Foreigners who read the New York Times?  Member states of the UN?  International bureaucrats working at the UN?  There’s is no answer to this question. Far be it from me to disagree with Dennis . . . pretty sure he’d agree that the term is thrown around by Leftists to imply “everyone” hates us, when in fact it’s only the world’s Leftists who hate us.

    • #81
  22. HVTs Inactive
    HVTs
    @HVTs

    AIG:

    HVTs: Cuba is immensely weakened by the embargo; Castro, not so much.

    Cuba and Castro are the same thing.

     Only if you happen to be Castro.  Let’s put it this way: how many Cubans (in Cuba) wouldn’t want to trade their lifestyle for that of Fidel or Raul?

    • #82
  23. Mario the Gator Inactive
    Mario the Gator
    @Pelayo

    As long as the Cuban government is a totalitarian/collectivist dictatorship, I see no reason to lift the embargo.  The Castro brothers and their inner circle will get richer while the average citizen will still beg for scraps from the dinner table. 

    You have fallen for the argument that the suffering of the Cuban people is mainly the result of the U.S. Embargo.  Fidel has been saying that for 50 years and using it as a smokescreen.  The truth is that Cuba is economically doomed as long as they refuse to adopt Capitalism.  People in Cuba have no incentive to work because the wages are a joke and the currency is worthless.  The only place they earn some fruits from their labor is in the black market. 

    Lifting the embargo will not fix what ails Cuba.  Getting rid of collectivism will.

    • #83
  24. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    HVTs: Only if you happen to be Castro.  Let’s put it this way: how many Cubans (in Cuba) wouldn’t want to trade their lifestyle for that of Fidel or Raul?

     That didn’t address my point. In this context, Cuba is Castro. You can’t “help” one and “hurt” the other. It’s the same thing. 

    • #84
  25. user_3130 Member
    user_3130
    @RobertELee

    I support ending the embargo.  Nothing will ruin Cuba like good old American capitalistic corruption.  Unleash the tourists on them and watch the revolution happen.

    • #85
  26. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    What do we possibly gain by continuing this insane embargo?  And what do the Cuban  people gain?  Nothing at all.  Attack Cuba.   Flood Cuba.   Inundate Cuba, overwhelm Cuba.  With tourists, with cigar and coffee purchasers, with US radio and telly.   Certainly that’s the best way to  effect change there.

    And by theway, if you google cuban cigars montreal or cuban cigars switzerland you can find dealers who will ship Cuban cigars  to the USA with false documents.  Now one does so at one’s own risk, but the  Montecristos are fabulous little smokes.  I bought my first in Brussels last spring and they are worth the effort to track down.

    • #86
  27. Carol Member
    Carol
    @

    Lifting the embargo would be good for baseball, as Cuba is the source of much of the young exciting talent nowadays.

    • #87
  28. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    Robert E. Lee: I support ending the embargo. Nothing will ruin Cuba like good old American capitalistic corruption. Unleash the tourists on them and watch the revolution happen.  Doctor Robert: What do we possibly gain by continuing this insane embargo? And what do the Cuban people gain? Nothing at all. Attack Cuba. Flood Cuba. Inundate Cuba, overwhelm Cuba. With tourists, with cigar and coffee purchasers, with US radio and telly. Certainly that’s the best way to effect change there. And by theway, if you google cuban cigars montreal or cuban cigars switzerland you can find dealers who will ship Cuban cigars to the USA with false documents. Now one does so at one’s own risk, but the Montecristos are fabulous little smokes. I bought my first in Brussels last spring and they are worth the effort to track down.  

    The government blocks and will continue to block access to US/foreign media and info. Just ask Alan Gross

    As for purchasing things, with the government intervening, the government gathers essentially all the profit and will use that to stay in power.

    • #88
  29. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    Carol:

    Lifting the embargo would be good for baseball, as Cuba is the source of much of the young exciting talent nowadays.

    If we lift the embargo, MLB teams will be paying millions per player to the Cuban government; even more than the millions to Japanese teams for the rights to Japanese players. The Japanese players have enough clout to somewhat limit what their teams get. The Cuban players won’t limit what Castro gets.

    • #89
  30. MSJL Thatcher
    MSJL
    @MSJL

    Totalitarians need their myths and paranoia to maintain power.  Whatever the reasons for the embargo decades ago, I see no value to U.S. foreign policy today for keeping it.  From our perspective I see no reason for not normalizing relations and lifting the general embargo.  On the flipside, the existence of the embargo feeds into the regime’s narrative of resisting the imperialist Yankee.  It’s the last thread that they cling to.  Let’s take it away their last excuse for failure.

    • #90
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