Cuba, Dropping of US Sanctions

Last updated: March 7, 2017

Should the United States drop its sanctions on Cuba?

Cuba, Dropping of US Sanctions
Yes because...

The sanctions cause real and unacceptable harm to the Cuban people. In the 1990’s Cuba lost $70 Bn i...

The sanctions cause real and unacceptable harm to the Cuban people. In the 1990’s Cuba lost $70 Bn in trade and $1.2 Bn in international loans because of U.S. sanctions. Cuba is too poor a country not to suffer from these losses. The dominance of America in the pharmaceuticals industry, moreover, means that it is actually impossible for Cubans to gain access to many drugs. America would be the natural market for most Cuban products, and its refusal to accept goods with even the tiniest Cuban inputs from third nations damages Cuba’s ability to trade with others. Other South American countries have shown their reliance on the types of loans that Cuba is denied in the last few years to keep their economies on track.
No because...
Sanctions didn’t cause the economic failure in Cuba. The communist political and economic system has been shown to lead to economic collapse all over the world, whether sanctions are in place or not. Even if sanctions were lifted, lack of private ownership, foreign exchange and tradable commodities would hold Cuba back. The International Trade Commission found a ‘minimal effect on the Cuban economy’ from sanctions. In fact, it is by using sanctions to pressure Cuba into economic and political reform that the US can best contribute to an economic recovery there.

Cuba, Dropping of US Sanctions
Yes because...

Sanctions are pointless and counterproductive. They’ve made no political difference in the last 43 y...

Sanctions are pointless and counterproductive. They’ve made no political difference in the last 43 years, why would they now? They mean that the US can be blamed for all the failures of the Cuban economy and to justify repressive measures for security, and therefore encourage the retrenchment of both. President Bush claims to want to empower civil society in Cuba but in 1998 he argued that the best way to achieve this in China was to trade and spread ‘American values.’ Cuba’s geographical and cultural proximity makes it very likely to change fast when given access to Americans and their wealth.
No because...
Sanctions are a proven policy tool and can pressure a regime that is extremely repressive into reforms. Aggressive U.S. engagement and pressure contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Bloc and it can work again. Sanctions are also, according to Colin Powell, a ‘moral statement’ of America’s disapproval for the Castro regime. Blaming America for all economic woes didn’t trick ordinary Russians and it won’t trick the Cubans. Now is exactly the time that the United States should be tightening down the screws so that Castro’s successor is forced to make real changes.

Cuba, Dropping of US Sanctions
Yes because...

There are no legitimate grounds for Cuba to be sanctioned as opposed to many other states. There is ...

There are no legitimate grounds for Cuba to be sanctioned as opposed to many other states. There is no evidence that Cuba is a sponsor of terror. Cuba has no biological, chemical or nuclear weapons. Cuba holds fewer prisoners of conscience than China, Vietnam, Iran, or even Egypt. To maintain sanctions in order to change the form of government, as the United States claims it does, is totally illegitimate under International Law and, moreover, Cuba is in no sense the only undemocratic country in the world. Cuba has offered to compensate the U.S. citizens whose property was nationalised in 1959. America has never explained the threat posed by Cuba that requires these sanctions.
No because...
Cuba is a repressive regime which operates one party rule, holds political prisoners and stifles opposition and economic freedom through constant harassment. The Cuban administration refused to give help with the search for Al-Qaeda suspects and is on the U.S. list of sponsors of terror, not least because it provides a safe haven to many American fugitives. Cuba is known to have a developmental biological weapons ‘effort’ and is recorded as breaking international sanctions to export dual use technologies to Iran. Finally, Cuba has failed to stop drug shipments through its waters and its government profits directly from resources stolen from United States citizens in 1959.

Cuba, Dropping of US Sanctions
Yes because...

Sanctions on Cuba are illegal and damage America’s International standing. They violate the UN Chart...

Sanctions on Cuba are illegal and damage America’s International standing. They violate the UN Charter, laws on the freedom of navigation, and repeated United Nations resolutions since 1992 (passed with only the US and Israel in opposition). Furthermore, some parts of the Helms-Burton Act are extra-territorial in their effects on businessmen from third nations and therefore cause significant protest around the world. This makes a mockery of the US claim to be a guardian of International Law, not only in its dealings with Cuba but also in the negotiations over the future of Iraq. America could achieve its goals internationally more easily if it was not marked with evidence of its lack of respect for International Law.
No because...
America is attempting to protect the rights of its own citizens and of the Cubans enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. If it breaks International law it is only to hold up that aim for which International law also aims. The United Nations Resolutions condemning the sanctions have never passed through the Security Council and therefore lack any authority. America’s status as a guardian of human rights and an enemy of terror is enhanced by its moral refusal to compromise with a repressive government just off its own shores.

Cuba, Dropping of US Sanctions
Yes because...

The United States will also benefit from the opening of trade with Cuba economically. Mid-Western R...

The United States will also benefit from the opening of trade with Cuba economically. Mid-Western Republicans have all voted to drop the embargo because of the potential for profits in their farming states. This is a market for American products as well as a local producer. Further, if sanctions end Americans will be able to stop pretending that they prefer Bolivian cigars!
No because...
Cuba will never make up more than a tiny percentage of America’s trade and it is able to source and sell all the products it needs elsewhere. Even if Cuba was a vital market for American goods it would be worth giving up some economic growth in order to maintain a commitment to the freedom of the Cuban people. As it is, the total Cuban GDP is a drop in the ocean and this point is almost entirely irrelevant.

Cuba, Dropping of US Sanctions
Yes because...

Sanctions are not the will of the American people but of a small minority of embittered Cuban Americ...

Sanctions are not the will of the American people but of a small minority of embittered Cuban Americans in Florida who are being pandered to. National opinion generally expresses no preference or opposes the ban. Congress recently voted by 262-167 to repeal the Travel Ban to Cuba but will be thwarted by the insistence of George W. Bush that the ban remain. This is electioneering government at its worst.
No because...
The people who care most about the Cuban question thoroughly oppose dropping sanctions. The Mid-Western Republicans who voted to drop the travel ban are no less blinkered than the Cuban Americans who vote to keep it. Opinion on sanctions wavers; the separation of powers is specifically in place to allow the White House to maintain a stable policy on issues of national security.


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