The United States and Cuba: An Embargo for the Ages
Cuba’s colorful history can be documented to before the days of the American Revolution in 1776, but today, American policy directly affects many Cubans’ lifestyles because of a nearly 45-year-old trade embargo that has been placed on the island nation. It is crucial to analyze the development of Cuba and its neighboring island nations in order to discern the reasons for Cuba’s current political situation with the United States. The following paper will discuss the events that shaped Cuba and larger Caribbean nations like Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica; next, a detailed description of Cuba’s turbulent history will help in explaining the Cuban transformation into a socialist economy; then, a detailed account of the U.S. embargo on Cuba will document the ups and downs of the policy all the way to the present day; finally, the current news surrounding American-Cuban relations will depict the most recent happenings in the ongoing disputes between the two nations.
Before analyzing the situation leading up to the Cuban embargo, it is important to look at the history of the development of the Caribbean as a whole. This means analyzing the factors that led to the modern development of islands like Hispaniola (consisting of Haiti and the Dominican Republic), Jamaica, and of course Cuba. It is also essential to observe and examine the economic and social changes that resulted from these islands’ shifts from colonial outposts to independent producers.
It seems important to look at all of these islands separately, as each one has its own unique background that explains its place in the world today. These islands also share many strikingly similar characteristics. Upon the arrival of settlers on each island, the Europeans managed to eliminate native West Indians, first through warfare, then, unwittingly, though disease. Another similarity is the struggles each country faced after gaining its independence. This will be a quick, but thorough overview of the manner in which each of these countries came into existence today.
Christopher Columbus discovered Haiti in 1492 during his inaugural foray into the New World. The island that Haiti now shares with the Dominican Republic was dubbed ‘La Isla Espanola,’ shortened to Hispaniola. Despite this Spanish moniker, the western side of the island soon became an enclave for French Huguenots that had migrated to Hispaniola from the northwest side, via the island of Tortuga. The French took advantage of the Spanish capital, Santo Domingo, being all the way on the other side of the island, and they managed to established a vital trading post in their new territory they called Saint-Domingue, after the Spanish capital. By 1697, a treaty had been signed and the western portion of Hispaniola officially belonged to the French, who made the territory flourish. The French made Hispaniola thrive, producing sixty percent of the world’s coffee supply...