NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Lifting the Embargo

April 1, 2004

Despite the Cuban embargo's popularity among politicians and Cuban-Americans, it has been a failure and should end, says William Ratliff (Hoover Institution).

  • The embargo has increased hardships for the Cuban people, who are looking for American dollars to improve their plight economically; moreover, it widens the gap between the Cuban poor and those in exile in the United States.
  • The embargo allows Cuban president Fidel Castro to blame the United States for Cuba's economic ailments and to promote anti-American sentiment in Latin America.
  • It has done nothing to improve human rights for the Cuban population; Castro has not responded to outside pressure for the past 45 years and will likely continue an unrepentant stance, with or without an embargo.

Ratliff suggest the United States end the embargo and allow travel and trade between the two countries. With the infiltration of American citizens and products, some democratic reforms could be encouraged.

Even if reforms never came under Castro's regime, says Ratliff, the Cuban citizens could at least improve their economic status with the influx of more American dollars into their economy.

Additionally, some 90 percent of the Island's dissidents want the embargo to be lifted. As dissident Elizardo Sanchez has said, "Isolation is oxygen to totalitarians."

Source: William Ratliff, "Surviving Fidel," Hoover Digest, No. 1, 2004, Hoover Institution.


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