Hands Off Cuba

Havana, Cuba musicians plays for a crowd on the sidewalk. Photo by Ban Yido on unsplash.com

The United States has some involvement in almost every part of the globe. The far-reaching consequences of our empire have proven to have significant detrimental effects on countless countries. 

Today, the regime changes of around 41 countries in Latin America have involved the United States. 

Among those, Cuba has faced some of the fiercest opposition from the United States. It would be somewhat fair to say the United States has engaged in economic warfare with the island nation for almost a century. 

One of the most detrimental actions taken against Cuba has been the embargo that has been in place since 1962. 

The embargo prevents Cuba from trading with not only the US but countries that wish to trade with the US without facing punishment. 

The policy affects almost every facet of Cuban life, as the country has struggled to get essential medical supplies, soap, food and even paint for buildings due to the blockade.  

Additionally, those most affected by the embargo and countless other sanctions are the citizens of Cuba and not the Cuban government. 

For what purpose could our empire want to cripple an island smaller than Kentucky? 

As stated before, Amerikkka has a long history of regime changes in the Latin world, and Cuba is no exception. The rise of Fidel Castro led to Cuba’s independence from United States-backed military dictator Fulgencio Batista. 

Under Batista, US capitalists and organized criminals could do business freely with little or no regulation. 

Batista also had close personal relationships with big-time mobsters from the US, such as Meyer Lansky, who controlled Havana’s casinos and racetracks. 

Francis Ford Coppola later dramatized the mob’s involvement in Cuba in the film “The Godfather: Part 2.” 

To say the Batista regime was corrupt would be an understatement. Many poorer Cubans outside of Havana worked on sugar plantations for what were essentially slave wages, creating a stagnant economy with a horrific wealth gap.  

In the later part of the Batista regime, discontent grew louder, culminating in a revolution led by Fidel Castro. The removal of Batista led to growth in support for Castro, which would only increase after he and his communist party took control of Cuba. 

Through this, Castro redistributed land lost during the Batista regime back to the people it belonged to, advancements in medicine, as well as free healthcare, was achieved, and a massive literacy campaign took place, which raised the literacy rate of Cuba to 96%, which is still among the highest in the world. 

Before Fidel, US investors were free to roam through Cuba, exploiting its population and endlessly profiting from it at their expense. 

This loss of profits, Cuba’s relatively close distance to the US, and the rise in communist beliefs in the nation had the US State department foaming at the mouth. They prepared to remedy the situation in the  way they knew how: regime change.

Ostensibly, the blockade responds to Cuba’s human rights abuses which the Cuban government has brought on since the revolution. 

This justification holds very thin for several reasons. The first is that the United States has never seemed to have much of a problem associating with countries known for human rights abuses, historically and to this day. 

The United States has close ties to the Saudi Arabian government. While the US stands virtually alone in this decision to embargo Cuba, the apartheid state of Israel is one of the few that openly supports it. 

Furthermore, our officials admitted the popularity of the Castro government among the Cuban people and the real motivations behind our conflicts with Cuba. In a now-infamous document, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Lester D. Mallory wrote, 

“The majority of Cubans support Castro (the lowest estimate I have seen is 50%).”

“The only foreseeable means of alienating internal support is through disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship).”

For us Americans, the Cuban blockade is representative of the direct instability we bring to other nations. For Cuba, the embargo represents what is quite possibly their greatest obstacle when it comes to development. 

Critics of lifting the embargo have claimed that the Cuban government  uses the embargo as an excuse as to why their socialist policies don’t work in providing for their people. 

This is but a cruel dismissal of Cuba’s situation. Despite these hardships and being a developing country, Cuba has made developments in healthcare and sustained an economy far longer than what was thought possible after the collapse of the USSR

Still, if Cuba’s policies wouldn’t work with or without the embargo, why don’t we lift it and see what happens?