Cuba vs. Embargo, What’s Your Opinion?

By Vicente Antonio de Castro

Illustration on the UN vote: 

HAVANA TIMES – Once again, the majority at the United Nations voted to condemn the US embargo on Cuba. This year’s vote was held on Thursday and has been held every year for the past 27 years but doesn’t have any real effect. However, the Cuban government continues to raise the subject annualy in front of the UN General Assembly, looking for the symbolic effect this might have in the international arena and in legitimizing the regime within Cuba.

The Cuban government’s first argument is that the Embargo is illegal. However, they haven’t taken it to any International Criminal Court or any international court of arbitration, including any US court.

They say they won’t do this because, even if these courts rule in Cuba’s favor and prove that the embargo is illegal, the US won’t respect the ruling, but isn’t that exactly what has been happening at the UN all these years? Isn’t it the symbolic value that really matters? Wouldn’t it be even more symbolic if it had real legal support, a concrete sentence?

Some people think that the Cuban government isn’t filing any legal complaints against the US because they fear that the US’ right to trade with whoever they want would be confirmed in any real court, and not in a political assembly like the UN, which would leave the Cuban government without one of its most handy arguments.

The other great argument they have is the harm that the Embargo causes to the Cuban population. That’s an undeniable fact, but is the Embargo the thing that really hurts the Cuban population the most?

Nobody had an embargo on China or Vietnam, and yet they were still extremely poor as they clung onto a centralized economic model, which only began to make progress when they accepted the free market, with all of its consequences.

When the USSR subsidized Fidel Castro’s government with enormous handouts, did Cuba make progress? No, the moment they lost this aid, it became clear just how much of a disaster our economy was, a great lie that had been upheld by political begging.

The collapse of the Soviet Bloc showed us just how backward this part of the world was in technology, culture, social advances and science, from the Russian metropolis to the very last of its colonies, which was the result of a lack of freedom and State centralism, not an embargo.

From this perspective, it seems that the Embargo isn’t the main cause for our current state of crisis, maybe the centralized and planned economy has a lot more to do with our hardship.

The most important thing many people both inside and outside of Cuba understand is that the Cuban government upholds an anti-democratic and totalitarian system of government, which cuts individual freedoms short, as well as freedom of conscience and property, which are the foundations of every other freedom, and many of us think that there won’t be sustainable prosperity without individual freedom.

The day of the vote. Photo: Yami Robelo,

Therefore, it would be immoral to get rid of the Embargo in the eyes of those who support it, as this would only result in the perpetuation of a government that hasn’t been elected by its people and stands in the way of freedom, and as a result, the economic progress of its own people.

People who support the Embargo think that the moral, humanitarian thing to do is to place X amount of international pressure, X amount of international isolation, so that the Cuban government finds itself forced to give in and grant its people their freedom and that the Cuban people’s tough situation can only improve when this sovereignty is passed onto the people, when consciences and ideas can circulate and gather together.

By the way, I personally don’t think that there is a humanitarian interest behind the US embargo policy, it is rather a geopolitical interest for a country with global interests. In the same vein, I think that people who are fighting to get rid of it are doing so out of their own political interest, not out of humanity. So careful, the REASON the Embargo exists is only relevant when judging the US government’s ethics, but when judging whether the Embargo is CONVENIENT, well that’s just a question of whether it is useful or not for the future for the Cuban people.

Also, it’s a very strange Embargo. The United States figures among Cuba’s top ten trading partners, ahead of “friends” such as Russia. Just a few days ago, a mixed Cuban-US pharmaceutical company opened up. US tourists continue to come pouring in (less since Trump came into office) and the chicken I buy for my children, which my government sells me for the price of three days wages/per kilo, comes from the US.

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15 thoughts on “Cuba vs. Embargo, What’s Your Opinion?

  • With what money, all they get is about $30 dollars a month and even less if your retired.

  • How many of those who comment here have actually read the US Cuban Democracy Act under which the embargo was introduced. How many agree with the defined purpose of the embargo as given in that Act?
    My opposition to the embargo is because it has provided a let-out for the Castro communist regime for decades. All the undeniable repression is inherent in communism and the incompetence of centralized regime control of every aspect of the economy of Cuba when questioned are apportioned by the regime to be consequences of “El blockade”. But the defined purposes of the Act are difficult to fault.

  • Cubans are some of the most morally strong people I’ve met. You are wrong.

  • Reality,Cuba is a sanctuary for Criminals that have and continue to steal Millions from Medicare Fraud.And Go back to Cuba and are untouchable as of now.There’s the Women that killed a U.S.Police Officer back in the 60′ I believe she’s living her full life in Cuba as the family of the killed Police Officer Never Got Justice.Cuba and it’s Communist Ideology ruined a great country with so much beauty and life..What did the Castro Brothers and his regime do to Cuba?..You have 13 yr old girls selling themselves to all the sick perverted scum of the tourist for $5.00 U.S.Dollars.Families let their daughters do this in order to survive in Castro’s Cuba.Cuba and the majority of it’s people have ZERO moral values and or dignity.Sadly again Castro’s Regime did that to them.They are victims and the World looks the other way at this Child sex trade in Cuba.The people of Cuba will struggle to adapt to Democracy as they have been conditioned to a Communist Ideology that never worked.The Embargo is irrelevant,Cuba is and will be for the next 60 years,an Island that has buildings and structures that are unsafe.Tourist die every month in accidents,and or later on bring home infectious diseases.Aids rate will continue to rise as again Castro’s regime has Aids Colonies where your are somewhat imprisoned.What can Cuba do to end the Embargo?.Start by Given up the Fugitive Criminals,for U.S.Justice.Let the Castro’s Put $100 Million in a project to pay and or feed all the Cuban People.Release All Political Prisoners.

  • The U.S. has been trying to claim Cuba for the better part of 200 years. Cuba has resisted under various democracies and dictatorships. The embargo is not about the people, it’s about ownership. The U.S. has no moral high ground when it treats non-white people with such evil and has its own corrupt government (whether Republican or Democrat in power it does not matter, the system is corrupt)

    The embargo extends de facto to Cuba doing business with other countries as the U.S. places pressure to not do business there. Thankfully some have stood up to the U.S. on this issue and thankfully Cuba is a beautiful country with tourism to help prop it up. Imagine if there had not been an embargo how well Cuba could have fared (or perhaps fail). But they have managed to survive with the foot of the U.S. on their neck and I say kudos to them.

    Indeed atrocities have happened in Cuba but the U.S. can’t point a finger.

    Viva Cuba libre

  • the embargo,. blacklisted , we / i refuse to deal with you or your business or anyone associated with you or your business.
    we had an agreement that was compromised by you chosing to take a different direction. we are willing to modify the agreement with certain conditions.

    a recent example is the revised nafta.
    mexico and canada made the right choices.what is in the best interest of the
    for all .

    never has the revolutionary gov of cuba
    ever requested any compromise to the insane marxist economy .

    it took two atomic bombs for the japanese
    to surrender . it was in the best interest for all.

  • so if you barter exports for imports from the any country you keep your sovereignty.
    and if you sale exports and buy imports
    you lose it.
    dam what are we to do.

  • The embargo was initially instituted to “punish” Cuba for siding with the Soviet block. But the Soviet Union collapsed in 1989, 29 years ago, so what is the current justification for the embargo? It’s the same, to punish Cuba. But this time the punishment is for Cuba’s refusal to become an American client state. Other countries in the America’s have had to face American punishment. The Dominican Republic in 1956, Chile in 1973, Nicaragua and El Salvador, 1980-85, Haiti several times, Venezuela, Columbia, Honduras and the Zalaya coup. The list goes on.

    Being an American client state means that the US controls major sectors of your economy. Old style colonialism has been replaced with financial colonialism. US banks and corporations will control major assets. These may be natural resources for mining or growing, or they may be service assets, such as telecommunications, ports, air transport and of course banking.

    When the IMF or World Bank require that client states develop their infrastructure as a condition for a loan, there is usually an American company on the receiving ned of those contracts.

    The Comprador Bourgeoisie will be allowed their share of profit, but it will always be clear where the real power lies. The US will support elections, as long as the right candidate gets elected. Both Chavez in Venezuela and Aristide in Haiti discovered that the US values control over democracy.

    So the local population will feel free, and will actually enjoy some civil rights, but only as long as those freedoms are exercise with the boundaries set by American capital.

    I once wondered why a country as powerful as the US would spend so much time interfering with tiny nations like Honduras and Haiti? Then an economist told be that those two countries set the floor for wages throughout the America’s, especially in textile manufacturing and other piece work being done in mobile factories.

    If their desperately poor workers get a wage increase it can push up minimum wages in other countries as well. And so the US conspires with local capitalists to crush the workers in these small nations. In countries like Colombia you literally risk your life to be a labor organizer. In others, the same applies to being a journalist.

    Cuba could get out from under the embargo, but only at a very steep price, your national sovereignty. You might acquire more property, but the real cost will not be apparent until it’s too late. Be careful what you wish for.

  • The embargo is shameful and obsolete. Hopefully the new generations of Cubans in the US will accept that it should be lifted. The local problem remains, the current economic model is unsustainable, but not even the most liberal economy can survive –less prosper– without being able to trade with the world. So it is indeed a combination of factors, and the world is waiting for free exchange with Cuba and the Cubans in many levels.
    And get prepared for the future (mark my words): when the embargo es uplifted and Cuba is invaded by McDonald’s, people will miss the “good old times” and artists will feel sorry to see how consumerism invades the island.

  • The US also restricts trade with North Korea, Venezuela, Russia, Iran and Syria. See a pattern here?

  • Thank embargo does NOT apply to food. Cuban could buy whatever food they choose from the US.

  • I think that it is very sad the way USA is treating the people of Cuba who I have found to be a friendly people.

    The continual boom in tourism speaks a thousand words, long may Cuba be a friendly INDEPENDANT country.

  • On my wife’s and I 22 visit to Cuba we are comfortable with our god daughters way of life but wish she had access to more than rice, eggs and black beans. Yes you can survive on this but boring day after day. Lifting the embargo will help.

  • I believe the embargo is stupid because there is no embargo on any other country by the USA and we have lots of relatives there. They need our help.

  • I say the embargo should be lifted. The United States are hypocrites, why do they deal with China and Vietnam. Which are Communist countries and have Human Right issues. So why is the United States so ticked off. I think it is the rich people, that had property and business in Cuba. But when the rich people abuse the poor and there is a war. If the other one wins well too bad. But there is always room for negotiation. The States could build factories (like clothes, parts for cars exc.) Its only 80 miles away.

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