Cuban Embargo Myth #1

This is the first in a series of posts about the Cuban embargo.

Myth: The castro regime doesn’t really want the embargo to be lifted.

Fact: It is a major foreign policy objective of the castro regime to have the U.S. trade embargo removed without making any concessions.

For the last seventeen years Cuba has introduced a resolution at the United Nations General assembly condemning the embargo.  It has passed all seventeen years. Interestingly, the resolutions have all come after the Soviet Union collapsed and Cuba lost all of its subsidies from the eastern bloc.  

The castro regime spends an inordinate amount of its propaganda in efforts to denounce the embargo which it falsely calls a “blockade”. These are the search results for a Google News search for the terms “Cuba” and “Blockade”.  There are currently 295 articles in the Google News queue with those two terms in them.  Almost all are from official regime outlets or their foreign partners.

Despite the embargo, the United States is Cuba’s largest food supplier.  Cuba purchases American food on a cash-up-front basis and has maintained a strategy of spreading such purchases around various U.S. states so as to spread influence with regards to lifting the embargo.

In 2005 John Kavulich resigned from his position as head of the the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council.  A 2005 Miami Herald article about his resignation affirmed that:

…Havana was buying goods from specific U.S. states in order to push their congressional representatives to vote for easing U.S. sanctions on Cuba.

Kavulich explained how the regime exerts pressure on state leaders to lobby for an end to the embargo.  

It also first reported in 2003 that Havana was requiring U.S. firms and some U.S. politicians to sign ”advocacy agreements” — promising they would lobby Congress to ease the sanctions — before Cuba would buy their goods.

”These agreements are a corruption of the commercial process,” Kavulich complained at the time. “Once you include an advocacy clause, they’re no longer commercial agreements; they’re political documents.”

Former presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee was one of the state officials that lobbied for lifting the embargo when he was governor of Arkansas so that rice farmers in his state could sell to Cuba. In 2002, he wrote a letter to President Bush urging for an end to the embargo.

So as you can see the castro regime has been playing every angle in trying to convince Washington to remove the embargo without making concessions. They have used propaganda to shape public opinion, they have used the institutions of the United Nations to put pressure on the United States and they have used the lure of potential commerce to convince legislators and governors from different states to lobby for an end to the embargo.

Do these look like the actions of a regime that secretly wants the embargo to remain? The answer is clear. The castro regime wants the embargo removed.

The idea that the regime is afraid of trade and tourism is a fallacy. Cuba trades with countless other nations and more than 2 million tourists visit every year. The dictators in Havana have perfected a method to keep such activities from “corrupting” the Cuban people.

Regardless of their intentions, anyone that lobbies for an end to the embargo is lobbying in favor of the desires of the castro regime. Period.

5 thoughts on “Cuban Embargo Myth #1”

  1. An embargo by one country (unilateral) would be removed only by said country (unilaterally). The embargo is a unilateral action in itself. Make sure you know what your terms mean before you try to use them to spin something.

  2. Dickbrain,

    Before I get rid of you I’ll correct you. In the context of the discussion of the embargo I use the expression unilaterally as opposed to a quid pro quo in which the regime would give the U.S. something. You know, like releasing political prisoners?


  3. this fact is the truest there is…Cuba wants it lifted as long as they don’t have to give up a thing. If they do stupid things when things are going well in US/Cuba relations its really just to see how far they can push and to make it clear that things will open on their terms only

  4. Absolutely. The regime does everything in a calculated manner. When Cuba has sabotaged attempts at rapprochement before it has been because the U.S. failed their test. They want the embargo lifted unconditionally. I exclude the BTTR shootdown from these events because I think the nascent dissident movement, the rafter crisis and the BTTR fly overs all posed a clear and present danger to the regime and thus they acted even if the result was a tightening of the embargo.

  5. Lebied, take a look at the column in today’s Washington Post by Marc Thiessen.

    The dumbest thing we could do today would be to enact legislation unilaterally lifting the embargo. Set aside questions about the embargo’s efficacy. Like it or not, it is our only leverage, aside from our military, to affect the transition in Cuba.

    It takes two to do the embargo lifting tango. Any more corrections, smartass?

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