April 21, 2014
How the Cuba Policy Affected trade with the U.S. Today
The Cuba Policy came into effect to end all relations between the United States and Cuba. The U.S. policy toward Cuba is controlled by the embargo, which contains economic agreements and restrictions on travel to Cuba. The effect of this policy is to minimize commercial, political and resident relations between the United States and Cuba. The State Department indicated that the purpose of the embargo was to have a nonviolent transition to a secure, democratic form of government and respect for human rights in Cuba.
According to the educational film Fidel Castro, the Cuban Leader came into power on January 1st, 1959 when the former president of Cuba, Fulgencio Batista fled the country, which shifted power over to Castro. The United States had close ties with Batista but Cuba rejoiced when Batista no longer was in power and Fidel Castro was elected President. The U.S. saw Cuba as a base for communist infiltration, which lead to the trade embargo.
In the 1960s Castro was often seen working in fields and organized state control of the agriculture economy of Cuba. “Sugar Cane occupied half of the island and accounted for about seventy percent of Cuba’s exports” (Fidel). The industry was affected when the United States decided to enforce the embargo on imports. Cuba was pretty much forced to expand its market overnight. In 1962, the Soviet Union was accused of sending shipments of nuclear missiles to Cuba. The danger of nuclear conflict between the Soviet Union and the U.S. started in October when John F. Kennedy announced quarantine on all communist shipping carrying arms to Cuba. “This tension did not go away until John F. Kennedy stated Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev agreed to dismantle missile sights on Cuba” (Fidel).
(Screenshot from Fidel Castro JFK signing statement for Nikita Khrushchev)
In the seventies there was hope for better relations between these two countries but a Miami base of Cuban exiles ruined that chance by kidnapping eleven fishermen. Cuba did not react well to this and started a riot. In 1975, the organization of American States lifted a long time standing ban and allowed member states to resume relations with Cuba. In 1977, President Carter attempted to make the situation better by lifting the travel ban for a college basketball team from the U.S. to travel to Havana. “In February 1963, President Kennedy made it illegal for almost all Americans to travel to Cuba” (History). The relationship between the two countries became non-existent in 1961 but by this time the U.S. and Cuba had exchanged diplomatic procedures. In 1980, Castro was accused of participating in a Drug deal with Panama. Castro denied the allegations and denied to help the U.S. to block trade and aid to Panama (Fidel).
(Screenshot of Fidel Castro of the Organization of American States lifting ban to resume relations with Cuba.)