Effects of U.S. Foreign Policy on Cuba
The foreign policy of the United States toward Cuba over the past fifty years has caused many problems for the Cuban society and its people, and relations between the two nations have been at odds for decades due to the harsh foreign policy stance of the United States toward Cuba. The United States has considered Cuba as its enemy ever since July 1960 when Fidel Castro’s new revolutionary government changed everything. Castro seized privately owned land in Cuba, nationalized several privately owned companies (most of which were subsidiaries of U.S. businesses), and heavily taxed American products which led to U.S. exports being reduced greatly, nearly cutting them in half in just two years. The United States government responded three months later by placing a partial embargo on Cuba that excluded only food and medicine. However, this measure only encouraged Castro to look elsewhere for trade, and he quickly found that Soviet Union was eager to ally itself with Cuba. Cuba’s relationship with the communist Soviet Union only made U.S.-Cuban relations worse, and in February of 1962 the United States imposed a full trade embargo on Cuba. The embargo has been in place ever since with minor changes made to it, some intensifying restrictions and some relieving them. The United States imposed the unjust embargo almost fifty years ago in hopes of overthrowing the corrupt Cuban government and perhaps to bring democracy to its people; however, it has done little to undermine Castro and Cuba’s population has suffered greatly because of it, and yet the embargo still stands to this day. The United States embargo on Cuba has been detrimental to the Cuban people and society, causing widespread poverty and famine. Some may say that these problems are due to the failures of the corrupt Cuban government; however these problems can be directly traced to the U.S. embargo. The embargo has devastated the Cuban economy and forced many Cubans into poverty. “From an official Cuban source, the direct economic damages caused to Cuba by the U.S. embargo since its institution would exceed 70 billion dollars” (Herrara par. 4). The United States is usually a strong advocate for human rights, but the embargo clearly violates the human rights of the Cuban people by denying them the right to obtain adequate food and other essential goods such as medicine. Not only has the embargo been extremely harmful to the Cuban people, but it has also served as a convenient excuse for Castro that he has used to deny any responsibility for many of Cuba’s problems, placing the blame on the United States, instead. “Fidel Castro has been able to use our embargo as an excuse to crack down on human rights and explain away every failure of his regime. By lifting the embargo, we lift the excuse” (qtd. in Hostetter 97). This quote suggests that the embargo only gives Castro something to hide behind for his failed government, blaming everything on the U.S. If you take the embargo were taken out of the equation, Castro would be seen by the Cuban people and the world for who he truely is and how his policies have failed to lift the Cuban people from poverty with no legitimate way of defending himself. If this happens and the truth is revealed, perhaps it will encourage a change for the better. The foreign policy of the United States toward Cuba drastically changed in 1960, and the policy has gone nearly unchanged for the past fifty years or so. Prior to the time that Fidel Castro took power in Cuba and led the revolution; the U.S. was very involved in the Cuban economy and had a good relationship with the country’s ruling class. Cuba being the largest producer of sugar stimulated a large amount of economic activity between the United States and Cuba. However, ever since the trade embargo was imposed on Cuba, they have been completely neglected and denied goods as well as economic aid...
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