Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Cuba. It's still a mess.

Doug Bandow is right.  The embargo on Cuba has been disastrous, and its review is long overdue. US sanctions on trade with Cuba have done exactly nothing to harm Old Busywhiskers himself -- if anything, they've granted him and his cronies an excuse for the penury into which they've driven the populace.  Like all sanctions programmes it's harmed only the citizens themselves, about whom Castro's thugs could care less.  Far from supporting Cuban freedom, it's likely diminished it.

With sanctions, the Castro Regime has been reinforced.  Without sanctions, the Regime would likely have withered into irrelevance and nascent capitalism emerged again, much as it has in Vietnam.

"Trade and investment normally draw peoples together," says Bandow, and he's right.  It's time, as he says, for America's policy-makers "to ask the simple question: If 50 years of embargo have not worked, why do they expect another decade or two or three of sanctions to work?"

    A new political climate invites a new policy response. No more half measures. Congress and the president should drop the embargo. Americans should be free to visit and trade with Cuba. There should be no government subsidies, whether in the form of trade subsidies or foreign aid. But individuals and companies should be free to cut their own deals. Would this strategy transform the island nation? There are no guarantees, though foreign contact has helped spur liberalization elsewhere. But lifting the embargo would have a greater likelihood of success than continuing a policy which has consistently failed. Some day the Cuban people will be free. Relaxing U.S. policy would likely make that day come sooner.

A bonus point for any reader who can see the parallels with Fiji.


  1. You mean, "about whom Castro's thugs couldn't care less."

  2. There's no way they'll just allow people to trade.

    They'll *either* have an embargo, *or* foreign aid.

    The statists just can't let things be... they'd... have... nothing... to... do....

    They wouldn't be important! By god we can't have that! Hurry up and get *doing* stuff!

  3. I apologize for my ignorance of the subject matter, but isn't it possible that investment in Cuba could lead those in power to collect enough loot to be a, however slight, military threat against the U.S.? Isn't investment into Communist countries, besides war, their primary life force? I think if we were to allow free trade with Cuba we would first require a nation that would refuse to stand for any sort of military build up. In the current pragmatist internationalist political climate I don't see freeing the embargo as a wise move. I would gladly invite being proved wrong and thanks for the input ahead of time.


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