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The Cuban Embargo; Friend or Foe

Madison.C, Staff

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Former president John F Kennedy officially placed sanctions on Cuba all the way back in 1962. Since then, Cuba has been sucked down into the black hole of communistic regime and citizen oppression. Now that Fidel Castro has fallen and President Trump is running the White house, the question of whether these sanctions should be lifted now, never, or at a later date is being called into question.

For background, lets talk about what has happened and is happening in Cuba. For the last 50 years or so, anyone that isn’t directly involved in the government has been oppressed and deprived of basic human rights. This is partly the reason the US placed the embargo, we used the sanctions as leverage. To summarize the United State’s economic mandate toward the Cuban government; we will trade with you, once you’re nice to your own people. This didn’t entice the Cuban government to make any big changes; in fact, it did the opposite. According to Rosenblum “The embargo has also failed to promote human rights and democracy in Cuba. In fact, it is during the times when the United States puts the most pressure on the Cuban regime (for example, after the passage of the Cuban Democracy Act in 1992 and the Helms-Burton Act in 1996) that the human rights situation in Cuba deteriorates.”

When I asked Ms. Watts, a 10th grade English and Humanities teacher here at Lake Mary about her feelings on the sanctions she replied “I question whether economic embargoes are good at controlling government systems.”

Besides the fact the Cuban government is a major threat to its own Cuban citizens, these sanctions have created a major threat for the US… and it’s not Cuba. By not allowing the United States to have any influence on Cuba, other major powers, like China, have been able to weasel their way in. Fan Changlong, the vice chairman of the Central Military Commission (and China’s highest-ranking military official) met with Raul Castro, who told him that “China is Cuba’s firm and reliable friend.” Fan also met with Fidel Castro and General Leopoldo Cintra Frias, Cuba’s defense minister. The two sides promised to increase their military cooperation. While China is located 7,233 miles from the US, Cuba is located only 90 miles away from Key West, Florida. Floridians can practically wave to Cubans, and the Chinese military is now located in Cuba. America may be in danger of another Cuban missile crisis, featuring China.

So far these sanctions must seem like anything but beneficial, to any party. So lets talk about giving up, as in the US should repeal the sanctions and trade with Cuba. When has the United States ever been one for giving up? Lets be honest, the US is the Rottweiler of the bunch in this dog-to-country metaphor. Just our bark makes all the other dogs/countries tremble. So should we feel threatened by China and see that the so-called leverage we have isn’t really leverage at all and give up?

When asked about his opinion on the Cuban embargo, JP Hilton, a sophomore, stated “The embargo is good, it allows for America to assert its dominance over Cuba. Sanctions need to be used to control other countries and ensure America’s control. ” While JP would advocate for continued sanctions, others may be more skeptical and feel the sanctions should end.

Lets go back to talking about the situation in Cuba, specifically focusing on the citizens. If the US were to lift the sanctions, then this is another example of the United States placing its needs over the needs of other citizens. The US already trades with countries like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia who don’t give their citizens the same rights United States citizens have. But in this instance, the United States for once, has stood up for the people and told Cuba the embargo will be lifted when citizens gain rights. What message would we send to the rest of the world, specifically those being oppressed, if we were to lift these sanctions and not hold up our word set 55 years ago?

Only time will tell what happens with the relationship between the US and Cuba, and we should all be watching.

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The Independent Student Voice of LMHS.
The Cuban Embargo; Friend or Foe