Cuban and U.S. relations have been on the rocks for the last 50 odd years. What follows is some background information on what has caused the rift between the two countries. It is a brief history of the American backed Batista that allowed U.S. interests to flourish in Cuba, juxtaposed against the rebel leader Castro that came afterward and the lasting effects that that has had with the relationship between Cuba and the United States and the resulting embargo that sprung from the wake. After the brief history, there is a dissection of the problems and consequences that this embargo has had on the U.S. and policy suggestion to help mitigate and repair relations. Background
Cuba became an independent state in 1902. From that time until 1956, with the communist revolution, Cuba has seen countless vies for power through revolution and seen other conflicts as well. For the purposes of this paper, however, focus will remain on Fulgencio Batista, his ties with the U.S.A., and Fidel Castro after that fact.
Fulgencio Batista’s rule in Cuba is a sordid one. He was first elected as President of Cuba in 1933. During this period he can be seen in a generally good light, having an efficient government that instituted such legislation as the 1940 Constitution of Cuba. He left to the United States after retiring in 1944, and from that time until 1 952 Cuba descended into corruption. He returned to power from 1952-1959, which was a bloodless coup d’état, deposing the current President in what was seen as a welcome change. This time around he would be seen as a dictator himself, revoking the Constitution and embezzling large sums of money . The United States backed Batista’s rule, and recognized him as the leader. With regards to the U.S.’s economic interests in Cuba at the time, Kennedy said this: “In a manner certain to antagonize the Cuban people, we used the influence of our Government to advance the interests of and increase the profits of the private American companies, which dominated the island's economy. At the beginning of 1959 United States companies owned about 40 percent of the Cuban sugar lands - almost all the cattle ranches - 90 percent of the mines and mineral concessions - 80 percent of the utilities - and practically all the oil industry - and supplied two-thirds of Cuba's imports.”
This shows how heavily invested in the economy of Cuba the United States were at the time. The sheer amount of American ownership, coupled with the disparity in income between classes in Cuba, goes to show where the feelings of corruption came from, which set the stage for Fidel Castro’s revolution in 1959. Since the American backed former Cuban government had been overthrown with Fidel now in charge, it would stand to reason that the United States didn’t back the new Cuban regime, and with Fidel pushing most of the blame of Cuban problems on United State’s shoulders, he wasn’t too fond of the United States government. He nationalized all of Cuba’s industries, and started implementing a Communist regime in place of the former corrupt Capitalist system. Russia ever looking for an edge on American, during the Cold War, swooped in with aid and support, and in return asked for their allegiance, and to place Russian missile bases on Cuban soil. America not wishing to see Russian military a mere 90 miles away, stepped in to blockade Cuba, resulting in the well known “Cuban Missile Crisis”. The missile crisis resulted in a trade embargo against the Cuban nation, and more importantly against the Castro administration. This didn’t affect Cuba much at the time, as they were receiving aid from the Soviets, but after the Soviet Union fell in the 1990’s that aid stopped coming. The American embargo stayed, however, resulting in a hole, where goods normally would be, but no longer were coming. Cubans called this period in time “período económico especial” or the special economic period . As of late, the U.S.A. has loosened the embargo a bit,...
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