American international relations with Cuba have almost always been tense. The cold war solidified the growing negative relations, and the embargo embodied it. But now that the cold war is over, as is the Cuban missile crisis, we’re left to wonder if the embargo is really necessary. Should the United States lift the embargo of Cuba? All of the evidence, be it economic, diplomatic, or social, points to yes. We should lift the embargo.
The United States embargo of Cuba has its roots planted in 1960, 53 years ago, when “the United States Congress authorized President Eisenhower to cut off the yearly quota of sugar to be imported from Cuba under the Sugar act of 1948… by 95 percent” (Hass 1998, 37). This was done in response to a growing number of anti-American developments during the height of the cold war, including the “expropriation of United States-owned properties on the island… [and] the Soviet Union [agreeing] to purchase sugar from Cuba and to supply Cuba with crude oil” (Hass 1998, 37). Bad sentiments continued to pile up as Cuba imposed restrictions on the United States Embassy and especially when, after the United States “officially broke off diplomatic ties with Cuba, and travel by United States citizens to Cuba was forbidden ... Castro openly proclaimed his revolution to be ‘socialist’” (Hass 1998, 38). The day after this, the Bay of Pigs invasion occurred, but it failed in its job to topple Castro (Hass 1998, 38). Left with no diplomatic options and a failed military attempt, the United States decided that the only way to end Castro’s socialist regime was to sever all ties, and from 1961 to 1996, a series of acts were passed prohibiting the majority of trade and interaction with Cuba. (Hass 1998, 38).
According to the United States Department of Treasury, “except for publications, other informational materials, certain donated food, and certain goods… such as medicine and medical supplies… no products, technology, or services may be exported from the United States to Cuba, either directly or through third countries. Goods or services of Cuban origin may not be imported into the United States either directly or through third countries” (2001) . According to the Cuba Policy Foundation, the United States loses up to $4.84 billion annually in trade and exports alone (Pepper 2009) . The amount of money being disregarded because of now defunct reasons is radically lacking in logic. A simple repealing of the embargo would bring both the United States and Cuba great economic success.
The obvious question presented by this information is, why is such an old idea, which severely limits the necessary functions of international society, currently being continued? It’s not like it’s helping anything. In fact, according to Joy Gordon, Professor of Political Philosophy at Fairfield University, “the embargo is the single greatest barrier to Cuban economic development” (2010, 64). Gordon continues by saying that “the United States measures against...