Who is irrational? What’s unproductive?

The U.S. embargo on Cuba is often characterized in editorials and columns as “irrational” and “unproductive”. But I have my doubts about who is being irrational and what is being unproductive.
In the early 1960s, the castro regime in Cuba decided that it could no longer abide by Yankee imperialists owning property in Cuba and thus expropriated (stole without any compensation) about $1.4 Billion in such property. In response, the United States slapped a trade embargo on Cuba which has remained in one form or another ever since. The castro regime contends that the embargo has cost it $222 Billion. It now wants those Yankee imperialists back.
$222 Billion sounds like an awfully high price to pay for $1.4 Billion in property. Even in 2007 dollars the property expropriated in the 60s was only worth $8 Billion or $9 Billion.
So I have to ask myself one question, if the embargo is hurting Cuba so much why doesn’t Cuba do something to bring about its end? You see the United States made its move, when it implemented the embargo. It’s Cuba’s turn to move.
For example, Cuba could recognize that it violated the norms of international trade when it stole American property. It could also make a pledge to settle the debt created by that theft (China and VIetnam have done this in the past). After all if the Cuban people are suffering because of the embargo isn’t it because the castro regime (that is supposed to be looking out for their best interests) has failed them in negotiating an end to it?
Cuba could also unconditionally release all the political prisoners as an act of good faith. Is it worth $222 Billion to maintain the “right” to violate human rights and keep the political opposition in prison? Apparently the folks in the upper echelons of the castro regime feel it is.
So why doesn’t the regime end the embargo tomorrow by making these relatively small gestures (small in light of $222 Billion)?
Maybe its because, despite all the propaganda to the contrary, the castro regime does not care one whit about Cuban people. Some will say that it’s because castro is maintaining the dignity of the Cuban people in the face of an aggressor. It’s the principle of the matter you see. But what about the principle of “thou shall not steal”? Are we to compromise our principles so that castro can maintain his.
In the end the Cuban people have paid much more than $222 Billion for castro and his stinking “principle” and nobody has asked them if it was worth it. In Cuba the people can not pen op-ed pieces asking the regime to end its irrational and unproductive policy.
Plus if the embargo ended tomorrow, what guarantee do the Yankee imperialists have that the regime won’t again decide to grab up American assets in Cuba?
What I think is irrational and unproductive is for the castro regime to continue to ask the Cuban people to foot the bill for its mistakes.

3 thoughts on “Who is irrational? What’s unproductive?”

  1. The human aspect of the castro regime is paramount in this discussion, as you have mentioned, Henry. But just for fun, let’s look at this in “dollars & cents,” like the regime is doing with their $222 billion dollar figure.
    If our embargo has cost them that much, how much has the 47 years that the properties and businesses that the regime expropriated cost the lawful owners in lost business? I am sure that figure eclipses their figure by quite a lot.
    Using financial numbers to defend an outlaw regime is a double edged sword. If the regime is going to go after the money they supposedly lost because of the embargo, we are just as entitled to go after them for the money we lost, and failed to make over 47 years, because of their illegal expropriation.

  2. Alberto the objective of the post was not to downplay the expropriations. But it was simply to point out that it was that capricious action by the regime that caused the embargo. And Cuba’s failure to recognize that error is what is costing Cuba today. Would you steal $10 if was going to cost you $200? And after it cost you $200, would you continue to say that it was right for you to steal the $10 while the $200 turned into $300?

  3. The sad aspect of this all, Henry, is that the question really should be if I would be willing to steal $10 if it was going to cost someone else $200. In the case of Cuba and the castros, that someone else is the Cuban people. Up until now, they have reaped any of the benefits involved with the theft, and hoisted the consequences of that theft upon the Cuban population.
    I cannot say if they thought the embargo would last this long, but I can say that they have found ways around it that have done wonders for their own pocketbooks, and sunken the Cuban nation deeper into despair. I have no doubt that if the embargo would have been lifted soon after it was initiated, they would have done the same thing. Nevertheless, the world today is vastly different from yesterday’s, and without a momma USSR with teats filled with milk to suck on, they are looking for ways to supplement their income.
    But before they can even approach normalizing trade relations with the US, they have to set themselves up like the victims. That is why, in my opinion, they are crying about the $222 billion. That will be their bargaining chip if and when they come to the negotiating table. Instead of paying for what they stole, they’ll offer to back-off on their claim for damages. Everyone knows it is bullshit, but what are the chances world opinion will side with the US on that one?

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