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Capstone Research Paper

Capstone Research Paper

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Published by: olivermujica on Oct 19, 2009
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02/26/2010

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Mujica 1Oliver MujicaProfessor Frazier LBSU 40221 May 2009The United States Embargo on CubaIn their book The Cuban Embargo, Patrick Haney and Walt Vanderbush provide acomprehensive examination of economic relations by the United States towards Cuba from thehistorical prospective of the trade embargo policy to the current changes in attitudes, in whichthey summarize as follows:“The United States and Cuba share a complex, fractious, interconnected history.Before 1959, the United States was Cuba’s largest trading partner, but in reaction toCuba's communist revolution lead by Fidel Castro, the United States severed alleconomic ties between the two nations. This action initiated the longest trade embargo inmodern history, one that continues to this present day. Over the course of the past fivedecades since the Cuban revolution, there has been changing politics of United States policy toward Cuba. While the United States embargo policy has remained relativelystable since its origins during the heart of the Cold War, the dynamics that produce andgovern that policy have changed dramatically. “Although originally dominated by theexecutive branch, the president's tight grip over the Cuban embargo policy has graduallysurrendered to the influence of interest groups, specific members of Congress, andelectoral campaigns goals.” Ultimately, what has been demonstrated by the political battles over the Cuban embargo policy is that it’s much more to do with who controls the policy as opposed to the shape of that policy itself.
 
Mujica 2The real dividing line in the Unites States embargo policy towards Cuba is how best to undermine the Castro regime and hasten the country’s day of liberation. For almost half a century, the United States government has tried to isolate Cubaeconomically in an effort to undermine the regime and deprive it of resources. Since1960, Americans have been barred from trading with, investing in, or traveling to Cuba.Even worst, Cuban Americans have been prevented by the Unites States to freely travelto and from Cuba to visit relatives, even if their health may be dire, and limited in theamount of their financial support that they may send back home” (Haney, Vanderbush 1).In Human, All-Too-Human, Friedrich Nietzsche addressed the question of whether “human beings are motivated by the desire for power and by fear of the power of others”(Bizzell, Herzberg 1168). The premise is all too clear that, upon the outset, the United States wasfearful of Cuba’s communist alliances with the Soviet Union and its socialistic governmental practices. As such, the embargo on Cuba was simply a tactic and political maneuver to gain power over Cuba by controlling it and thereby attempting to lessen its own fears. In fact, theissue surrounding the United States’ defenses against short-range missiles was one of the drivingcampaign points of the Kennedy presidential candidacy platform (Hersh 156).Haney and Vanderbush further substantiate that:“The embargo had a national security rationale before 1991, when Castroserved as the Soviet Union's proxy in the Western Hemisphere. But all thatchanged with the fall of Soviet communism. Today, more than a decade after losing billions in annual economic aid from its former sponsor, Cuba is only a poor and dysfunctional nation of 11 million people that poses no threat toAmerican or regional security. If the goal of the United States embargo policytowards Cuba is to help its people achieve freedom and a better life, the economic
 
Mujica 3embargo has completely failed. Its economic effect is to make the people of Cubaworse off by depriving them of lower-cost food and other goods that could be bought from the United States. It means less independence for Cuban workers andentrepreneurs, who could be earning dollars from American tourists and fueling private-sector growth. Meanwhile, Castro and his ruling elite enjoy a comfortable,insulated lifestyle by extracting any meager surplus produced by their captivesubjects” (Haney, Vanderbush 1).As with his predecessors, President Obama will be contemplating the fate of the Cubanembargo. Along with this decision will come either a new era in American diplomacy or “business as usual” with our Caribbean neighbor. As recently as April 13, 2009, PresidentObama took a first step by loosening certain restriction of the Cuban embargo. However,criticism has been raised by Cuba, as well as a few Latin American countries, as to whether or not these first actions serve as adequate measures to resolve the embargo. The Cubangovernment has recently expressed its desire to work in collaboration with the Obamaadministration to dissolve the embargo once and for all. But, for whatever reason, the UnitedStates remains rather reluctant.The findings of an expertly researched probing expose’ of the United States policy andthe future of Cuba are contained in the book Dateline Havana: The Real Story of U.S. Policy andFuture of Cuba by Reese Erlich in which he provides the following information regarding publicopinion:“Recent reputable polls demonstrate that the general public is changing vis-à-visits political opinions on Cuba policy. In 2007, a Florida International University pollshowed that 64% of Cuban Americans wanted President Bush’s 2004 policies on familytravel and remittances rescinded. More recent polls corroborate this finding and go

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