Doug Bandow: Time to End the Cuba Embargo





Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is the author of several books, including Foreign Follies: America's New Global Empire.

The U.S. government has waged economic war against the Castro regime for half a century. The policy may have been worth a try during the Cold War, but the embargo has failed to liberate the Cuban people. It is time to end sanctions against Havana.

Decades ago the Castro brothers lead a revolt against a nasty authoritarian, Fulgencio Batista. After coming to power in 1959, they created a police state, targeted U.S. commerce, nationalized American assets, and allied with the Soviet Union. Although Cuba was but a small island nation, the Cold War magnified its perceived importance.

Washington reduced Cuban sugar import quotas in July 1960. Subsequently U.S. exports were limited, diplomatic ties were severed, travel was restricted, Cuban imports were banned, Havana’s American assets were frozen, and almost all travel to Cuba was banned. Washington also pressed its allies to impose sanctions.

These various measures had no evident effect, other than to intensify Cuba’s reliance on the Soviet Union. Yet the collapse of the latter nation had no impact on U.S. policy...



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