NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


December 2, 2004

The United States' embargo against Cuba is getting old and has proven ineffective in transforming Castro's communist regime, says Dan Griswold of the Cato Institute. Moreover, Cuba poses no military threat to the United States.

The embargo, which has been in place since 1960, was necessary to prevent the Soviet Union from meddling by proxy in the western hemisphere. Since the Soviet Union's fall in 1991, the embargo has hurt Cuban citizens as well as American exporters and travelers, says Griswold:

  • Poor Cuban families could be earning American dollars to help fuel private sector growth and increased incomes.
  • Without the embargo, Cuba trade could eventually be worth $1 billion annually in exports for American farmers and ranchers, plus an additional $250 million in fertilizer, tractors and other agricultural industry products.
  • The ban on travel to Cuba punishes ordinary American citizens, not politicians or VIPs; indeed, a 75-year old retired woman had to cough up $1,000 just for riding her bicycle on a tour through rural Cuba.

Cuban-Americans, strong supporters of the embargo, are important to Florida politicians, even though they themselves violate the spirit of the embargo by sending American money back home to family members.

Furthermore, the embargo gives Castro, who lives in luxury virtually unaffected by this outdated U.S. policy, an excuse to blame the embargo on anything wrong with his country -- never mind that his regime is primarily responsible for Cuba's ailments.

Source: Dan Griswold (Cato Institute), "No More Cuban Embargo," A World Connected, November 15, 2004.


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