Top Pro & Con Arguments

Pro

Cuba has not met the conditions required to lift it or a willingness to negotiate in good faith with the United States.

Proclamation 3447 signed by President Kennedy on Feb. 3, 1962, established the embargo against Cuba to reduce “the threat posed by its alignment with the communist powers.” The embargo was strengthened by the 1992 Cuban Democracy Act and the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (Libertad) Act of 1996 (also known as Helms-Burton), which specified conditions for terminating the embargo. [6] [35] [49]

According to U.S. law, Cuba must legalize all political activity, release all political prisoners, commit to free and fair elections in the transition to representative democracy, grant freedom to the press, respect internationally recognized human rights, and allow labor unions. Since Cuba has not met these conditions, the embargo should not be lifted. [6] [49]

Lifting the sanctions unilaterally would be an act of appeasement that could embolden Cuba to join forces with other countries such as Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, China, and Iran to promote anti-American sentiments or socialism in the Western Hemisphere. The United States should not risk sending the message that it can be waited out or that seizing U.S. property in foreign countries, as Castro did in Cuba when he took power, will be tolerated. [1] [59] [1] [59]

Further, Cuba has not demonstrated a willingness to negotiate in good faith with the United States. President Barack Obama stated in a Sep. 28, 2011 “Open for Questions” roundtable, “Now, what we’ve tried to do is to send a signal that we are open to a new relationship with Cuba…. we have to see a signal back from the Cuban government… in order for us to be fully engaged with them. And so far, at least, what we haven’t seen is the kind of genuine spirit of transformation inside of Cuba that would justify us eliminating the embargo.” [11]

Fidel Castro responded the following day by calling Obama “stupid” and saying, “Many things will change in Cuba, but they will change through our efforts and in spite of the United States. Perhaps that empire will fall first.” [75]

Even though President Obama made efforts to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba in 2015, the Cuban government has failed to improve on human rights. According to a 2022 Human Rights Watch report, “The Cuban government continues to repress and punish virtually all forms of dissent and public criticism. At the same time, Cubans continue to endure a dire economic crisis, which impacts their social and economic rights.” Arbitrary and political imprisonment is frequently used. Further, the government controls all media and restricts outside media. [132]

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