The Evil Embargo At It Again

The Sun-Sentinel’s Havana Bureau reports that U.S. food exports to Cuba are down this year.

Wait a second…food exports are down? I thought we’ve had an embargo in place for over 40 years!

Of course not, you silly fool. At least not a real one. But that’s not the point.

On second thought, maybe it is.

This news comes out as Havana holds it’s annual international trade fair. The United States, which normally has a decent-sized contingent at this event, is noticeably overshadowed by other countries this year. Believe me, it’s hard to write these words without reflecting on the irony of all this.

Many potential U.S. traders are being dissuaded by the requirement that Cuba purchase their goods in cash as required by policy. Don’t feel too bad for opportunistic American businessmen, however.

“If you’ve got to pay cash, it becomes strenuous for any buyer,” said (Michael) Mauricio of Florida Produce Co. of Tampa, which supplies apples, onions, dried fruit and other wholesale items to the island with sales of hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

Mauricio said his own sales to Cuba have remained steady in recent years, because he aggressively markets his products to the nation of his ancestors. For example, Florida Produce recently scored an order for peanuts, almonds and filberts for a new chocolate factory in Cuba, he said.

Also, don’t feel bad for Cuba.

The cash-only requirement is not the only problem, however, according to a recent report by John S. Kavulich, a senior policy advisor to the council.

Kavulich said Havana has long prodded U.S. suppliers to seek changes in the four-decade-old policies that ban most business with Cuba, a strategy aimed to squeeze the island’s communist government and hasten regime change. But Havana’s purchases from U.S. food suppliers in more than 30 states have yet to change Washington’s hard-line approach, so Cuba sees little leverage in buying from the United States.Cuba also has less reason to pay cash for food from the United States, now that it enjoys financial largesse from Venezuela, which provides subsidized oil, and from China, which offers hefty credit. Other countries including Brazil, Vietnam, Mexico, Canada, and France barter with or offer other trade assistance to Cuba, according to Kavulich.

Through September, the island’s total trade jumped 27 percent, compared to the same period last year. In all, imports and exports should top $10 billion this year, the largest value since the collapse of the Soviet bloc 15 years ago, Foreign Trade Minister Raul de la Nuez has said.

Trade is up, with or without U.S. involvement, therefore the Cuban economy should be better, right? That’s the theory anti-embargo and pro-trade people always parade, but the bottom line is whether it actually makes a difference in the lives of the average Cuban. I think the answer is quite obvious.

Read the entire article here.

11 thoughts on “The Evil Embargo At It Again”

  1. Well I’m anti-embargo and pro-trade, and I don’t parade this theory, I’m even anti-embargo, cause then nobody could say that the embargo is the reason for this bad economy, and also because it make harder to see my family and friends, the ones that could help to make cuban people realize that the revolution is plain wrong and evil.

    But this last comment in your post, make me wonder, if there is not embargo, what are you pro?


  2. DotCu,

    My point is that whether the embargo as it is existed or not, Cuba would be in the same situation. The embargo has nothing to do with the problems facing the Cuban people.

    The people who blame the embargo for Cuba’s problems fail to recognize the trade with other countries, including the United States, as clearly stated in the article. We can open our wallets to Cuba, just as the rest of the world does, and what’s the end cause?

    I am in favor of a REAL embargo, one that limits all trade with Cuba. Travel restrictions are another story.

  3. I would like to reply to DotCu, that I don’t think your family needs your visits to see the government as wrong and evil. They should be able to see this by themselves. The only thing that has ever had a positive impact on the Cuban government’s behavior, that is, allowed more economic freedom, is when Cuba’s economy gets worse, such as when the Soviet Union withdrew its economic support in the 1990s. The money that is sent to families in Cuba, as well as spent when visitors visit Cuba, is one form of income that keeps Castro’s government afloat, as well as subsidies from friends such as Chavez and the support of the American left, the “useful fools” (tontos utiles) that communism has always been very successful at recruiting by just saying that they are fighting for the poor in a battle against the rich oppressors. Their main result is that now everyone is poor except the govenrment officials who are the nuveau riche. I have never been back to Cuba and will never visit or spend one penny of my money there until it is free again. Thank God my family had the vision to see what was behind the revolution early and left on time, although some members went back as part of the Bay of Pigs invasion (another betrayal of by the same Americans, mostly Democrats, who are now fighting against the embargo).

  4. TRH47,
    Reading your response I believe that you are not aware that DocCu is posting form some place in Havana, Cuba. I think that you should rethink your response. He doesn’t want to go to Cuba, he wants his family to go and visit him.

  5. This a example of how the embargho affects the Cuban people…….

    Nope can’t think of one, I lived in Cuba and my parents were well of my dad had a car, we were able to go to the hotels and shop at the dollar only stores, they even had stores were they sold cars and boats ( for tourist and foreigners only) all the kids in my block even had BMX bikes and my next door neighbor even had a maid with uniform and everything, in the years taht I live in Cuba no one even mentioned the embargo, why because the Russians were pouring billions into Cuba. Now as way of lying to the Cubans again he is claiming that the embargo is the cause of the decline of the country. Bull shit there is no embargo only the one that he has with the people of Cuba. If we lift the embargo he will continue to screw the cubans only then he will have more amunitions and resources. Also you need to remember that the embargo is only there because all the american properties taken away by him and crew

  6. Let’s make a few points:

    – If someone tell me, that with some sort of embargo, not the kind that had failed to achieve any thing for 50 years, would help to make cuba free in a short term, 3 to 5 years, then you can bet I’ll be a strong supporter of that embargo. And that is hard to said, cause everybody knows the embargo works by making the life of cubans in the island so miserable, that they see as the only option to rise in front of a very strong represion machinery.

    – You could come to cuba, and only spend a few dollars that go directly to the goverment, someone here at babalu made a calc, there wasn’t more than 50 dollars.

    – and as I said a few days ago, I can understand why the US goverment wants to keep a embargo, on a country with leaders that call they murders, facists, etc, and yes, took american properties, but what I can’t understand, is why cuban-americans are pro something, that they say don’t even exist, and produce no result for their cause.


  7. I think many of you are missing the reason for insisting in the cash requirement.

    Cuba has a habit of buying on credit and then defaulting on it. Castro has done to Canada, France, etc. several times. Insisting that Cuba buys what it is allowed to buy either on cash or on somebody else’s credit ensures that the American people are not tabbed with the bill for propping up their enemy.

  8. Let me see if I can explain myself one more time. The embargo in its present state is mostly a farce. Yes, it does protect the American taxpayer by demanding Cuba pay for goods up front. But THAT’S the point: there is no embargo. There’s an open line of trade between our two countries. For Cuba to say that the embargo is choking the Cuban people is a complete and total deception, much like the regime itself has been for almost 50 years. That is why it’s always good to remind anti-embargo people that their alternative is already being experienced in Cuba, with no discernible positive results.

    A real, multilateral embargo, similar to the one imposed on South Africa in the 80s, could very well force the regime to loosen the reigns a little. This might be merely a dream and totally unrealistic, but the alternative is clearly not working.

    Perhaps I should have titled the post “It’s Not the Embargo, dummy!” 😉

  9. Please DotCu the life of cubans in the island is already miserable, the point of a REAL EMBARGO is to choke Castro’s economic subsidies. This fool that sell apples to Cuba, does he not know that Cubans with their salaries cannot afford to buy it if they want to survive. In my entire life in Cuba I had 1 apple, which my grandfather with great effort bought me so that I could share it with my brother. To buy 1 can of condensed milk for a regular cuban in Cuba is a luxury. So really all these products actually go to the nuveau rich of Castro’s elite who can afford them. Castro’s internal embargo has always screwed cubans, but a REAL EMBARGO from the US would screw Castro. Castro owes Russia 20 billion dollars and he is never going to pay, he would rather buy things on credit because he knows he is not going to pay with the cash he has stolen from cubans and with the cash he make from his businesses.
    Thus, as a US taxpayer I support the current “embargo” which requires Cuba to pay with cash, because if Cuba were to buy on credit, the burden would fall on the US taxpayers.
    However, I also support the creation of a REAL EMBARGO which does not allow Castro to trade at all with the US. Why, simply because if other countries want to make business at the expense of the suffering of cuban people, well, then they can do what they want and they will learn in time how Castro will fool them. BUT the US, who stands for freedom and democracy, should not allow it. We cannot be as stupid to sell products to the maniac that wants to eliminate us and our democracy from the face of the Earth.

  10. fidel castro ruz has millions stashed in swiss bank accounts while average cubans have ration cards. fidel likes credit then he tries to abrogate his debts. you have to force him to pay. just look to his numerous lenders from paris to bejing and see how much he’s stiffed them. castro doesn’t file taxes or release pesonal income much like mafia dons. so if you have a vig with a guy like this it’s cash no gas.

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