Political Science 100
Policies on Cuba
In Juan RulfoÕs novel, Pedro Paramo, the reader follows a dusty road to a town of death, where the following is said ÓUp and down the hill we went, but always descending . We had left the hot wind behind and were sinking into pure, airless heat. The stillness seem to be waiting for someone. ÔItÕs hot here Ô I said ÔYou might say, but this is nothingÕ. My companion relied. ÔTry to take it easy. YouÕll feel it even more when we get to Comala. That town sits on the coals of the Earth, at the very mouth of Hell. They say that when people from there die and go to Hell, they come back for blankets.ÕÓ
This was the view many Americans had of Cuba in the late fifties and sixties. Cuba was seen as the entrance to hell ninety miles from our shore. Our foreign policy towards Cuba was formulated with these beliefs; as a result the United States assisted in a planned invasion of Cuba, planned the assassination of its leader and set up a political and economic embargo in an attempt to destroy her and her people.
Many things have changed since those time, we no longer see Cuba as the doors to hell, those doors have been rotating among other military strong men, this time in the Middle East. Fidel Castro is no longer the target of any American assassination plans, the United States no longer deals in the assignation of political leaders, now we have allies who are more able and discrete in doing that type of work. The only ancient legacy that remains in our foreign policy towards Cuba is a political and economic embargo implemented at the beginning of the Cold War in an attempt to crush a third world country.
At the time of the embargo its supporters assured the country that Cuba would not survive a year without political or economic aid from the Western World. Three decades later Cuba is still led by Castro and our policy has not changed, maybe it is time to rethink this
Once the embargo took effect, Cuba and Fidel Castro had no choice but to turn to the Soviet Union and Communism for salvation, both economically and politically. Cuba was dependent on exports for hard currency and imports for finished goods with the embargo Cuba was left unable to provide for herself. As Castro turned to the Soviet Union for economic aid he also embraced Communism and gave up Socialism a factor that would deepen the level of fear in the United States. Cuba and the Soviet Union started a relationship in which Cuba benefited the most.
Like many relationships, CubaÕs and the Soviet UnionÕs ended after thirty years of Cold War with the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the economic stability of Cuba. In 1991 as the Soviet Union disappeared and the former Eastern Bloc countries struggled for their own existence the future of Cuba once again was questioned. Subsidies, favorable trade agreements, economic and military aid from these countries disappeared.
In the early 90Õs Cuba lost their only major economic connection to the outside world. By 1992 the total value of trade turnover (imports plus exports) with Eastern Bloc countries had been reduced to 7% of what it had been just 3 years previously. The price of its two major exports, sugar and nickel had dropped 20 and 28 per cent, respectively, on the world market. At this time the United States instead of offering Castro a dignified way out of CubaÕs massive problems by loosening the 30 year old trade embargo instead insisted on furthering tightening it with the 1992 Cuba Democracy Act. This act not only made it more difficult for American companies to deal with Cuba but also set out to punish foreign companies that had dealings with the island nation.
As Communism fell in Europe and Asian Communist countries started to become a little more open once again the death of Fidel CastroÕs Cuba was being predicted as the United States led another attack on itÕs economic livelihood.
Now in 1996 a relic of the Cold War, Castro , is once again under attack by an other relic Jesse Helms. With the urging and political contributions of Cuban American groups, the
fact this being an election year and the the quick trigger finger of a Cuban pilot, Senator Helms has been able to push the Helms-Burton Law through Congress and into the law books. This law not only attacks Cuba but the rights of foreign companies.
Will Castro and Cuba be able to withstand this latest attack? Probably. The world has already condemned the law and Castro has once again end the year on a high note with the announcement that Pope John Paul will visit Cuba sometime next year.
So is it now time for the United States to reestablish diplomatic relations with Cuba and Castro? The answer is yes. The United States should look at The former Soviet Union as an example on how to democracy Cuba. The Soviet Union was not defeated by the United States, the Soviet Union defeated itself. What the United States must do in Cuba is to stop the embargo on the Cuban people and Fidel Castro and start exporting what Castro probably fears the most, American Culture and goods.
The only way America will bring a peaceful resolution to the Cuban situation is to leave Castro alone. The United States does not understand that every time it attacks Castro it only strengthens his position in Cuba. For over thirty years Castro has been using the U.S. as a scapegoat for everything that goes wrong in Cuba; if there were shortage the U.S. embargo was to blame, if there were riots the U.S. caused them, if there is a drug problem in Cuba it is because the U.S. caused it. Every time Cuba goes through an economic crisis the U.S. is ignorant enough to some how attack Cuba so that Castro is able to blame it on us.
The U. S. has underestimated Fidel Castro for over thirty years now. He is one of the most intelligent leaders in the world. He has been able to deal with several U.S. presidents and hundreds of world leaders. He is the Great Communicator of the Americas but most important he knows the Cuban People better than anyone in the world.
Castro is able to pursued the Cuban people into following him anywhere at anytime not by force but by persuasion. Something Castro has learned and the U.S. hasnÕt is that the Cuban people, like most Latin American people, are reluctant to change completely but are very willing to be persuaded into changing as long as they are familiar with what they are
turning to. When given a choice between an unknown future without Castro and Communism and a familiar future with him Cubans have so far chosen to keep Castro and Communism.
The United States must now choose to ignore Cuba and Castro; if we are truly interested in turning Cuba into a democracy we must stop interfering with her future. If we wish to overthrow the Castro government we have no greater weapon than the American Culture and capitalist greed. The sooner we stop giving Castro propaganda and weapons to use the sooner the Cuban people will realize these threats to personal freedom are not from outside forces but within. The embargo and the fight against Castro has cost the U.S. millions of dollars, opening relations with Castro and lifting the embargo will cost nothing.
For its own good the U.S. must lift the embargo and reestablish political relations with Cuba, in the nineties the United States has proclaimed itself peace keeper of the world, we have become involved in conflict resolution all over the world many times with the cost of millions of dollars and many American lives. If the embargo remains and the Castro government comes to a violent end the world will not let us remain on the sidelines and watch. The world already blames the U.S. for the situation Cuba is in, if Castro falls, the world would rightly expect the U.S. to go in and clean up the mess, if we have done it in Africa and Eastern Europe why shouldnÕt we do it in our own back yard.
The situation in Cuba is just as bad as any other around the world. In Cuba; poverty and shortages are wide spread, there are many war tested military generals who have fought on ideology ready to take control at the first sight of weakness, every Cuban has had military training and many have the weapons given to them by the government. All these factors could add up to a very messy and long involvement in a post-Castro Cuba.
The United States and Cuba have shared a very long and torrid history this century. Half way through it, Fidel Castro and Communism got involved in the situation. Out of fear and haste the U.S. aggravated the situation with a political and economic embargo that for a long time seemed to strengthened Castro more than it weakened Cuba. We are now at a
critical point in the history of this relationship, we must ask ourselves whether we are going to take a short term view or a long term view on the effects and consequences of continuing the political and economic embargo on Cuba.
If the U.S. chooses to continue their present course and take a short view of the Cuban situation then they should continue cutting off every economic and political avenue Cuba and Castro have to the World but they must be ready to deal with the situation that will erupt if Fidel CastroÕs government comes to a sudden and violent end. The world has so far ignored the obsession the U.S. has had with Castro and Cuba but it will not ignore the U.S. walking away from a mess they have created. The better solution would be to take a long term view of the situation. By opening relations with Cuba several things will slowly but surly bring to an end the Castro government. Among them would be allowing the American culture to infest the island, letting the people familiarize themselves with the outside world, letting capitalist greed take its course and finally letting the American and Cuban people communicate share ideas and show each other that they are part of the same world, these simple thing are stronger than any embargo.
After the revolution many Americans saw Cuba as the entrance to Hell just ninety miles away from the United States, time has proven this idea to be wrong. It is now time for the U.S. to grow up and end the political and economic embargo on Cuba. The Cuban people are some of the best educated in the world thanks to their socialized education system and if given a choice they will choose to join the rest of the world community. But at the same time poverty and hunger breed fear and anger if the embargo continues and Castro is violently forced out, it will be hard to predict what will happen. If violence erupts in Cuba the U.S. will be forced to intervene an then may it be that entrance to Hell will be a post-Castro Cuba.
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