The Trade Embargo



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The Trade Embargo

Read over the pros and cons arguments of maintaining the trade embargo against Cuba and then form your own opinion- should the United States keep the embargo or get rid of it?



Write a 3 paragraph essay on the topic- paragraph 1 should have background on the issue and a strong thesis statement. Paragraph 2 should explain your reasoning’s and paragraph 3 should sum up your paper’s arguments and restate your thesis.

PRO Cuba EmbargoWe should keep the Embargo

  1. The United States should maintain the Cuba embargo because Cuba has not met the conditions required to lift it. According to US law, Cuba must legalize all political activity, release all political prisoners, promise to have free and fair elections, transition to a representative democracy, grant freedom to the press, respect internationally recognized human rights, and allow labor unions. Since Cuba has not met these conditions, the embargo should not be lifted.

  2. Ending the embargo before the Cuban government meets the conditions specified by US law would make the United States look weak.

  3. The Cuban government has consistently responded to US attempts to soften the embargo with acts of aggression, raising concerns about what would happen if the sanctions were fully lifted. Since the United States agreed to re-open the US embassy in Cuba, the Cuban government has continued to persecute and arrest its own citizens. There were 630 political arrests in June 2015. One protestor claimed "The Cuban government has grown even bolder" as a result of the normalized relations, just before he was arrested along with 89 other protesters prior to Secretary of State John Kerry's arrival in Havana in Aug. 2015.

  4. The embargo enables the United States to apply pressure on the Cuban government to improve human rights. Several international organizations have written about the long history of human rights abuses and repression in Cuba. At least 4,123 people were imprisoned for political reasons in 2011, and an estimated 6,602 political detentions occurred in 2012. The Congressional Research Service reported that there are an estimated 65,000 to 70,000 prisoners incarcerated in Cuba as of May 2012 - among the highest in the world on a per capita basis. The freedom of expression and right to assemble are severely restricted by the government.

  5. Since there is virtually no private sector in Cuba, opening trade would only help the government, not regular Cuban citizens. The 90% state-owned economy ensures that the Cuban government and military would win the gains of open trade with the United States, not private citizens. Foreign companies operating in Cuba are required to hire workers through the state; wages are converted into local currency and devalued at a ratio of 24:1, so a $500 wage becomes a $21 paycheck.

  6. The United States is able to target the Cuban government with its embargo while still providing assistance to Cuban citizens.

  7. The uncertainty over who will succeed Raúl Castro makes it unwise for the United States to change its policy before a new leader is in place.

  8. The majority of Cuban Americans, the people who understand the situation best, support the embargo.

  9. Cuba should be subject to sanctions because it is known to have repeatedly supported acts of terrorism.

  10. Cuba has not demonstrated a willingness to negotiate in good faith with the United States. Even though President Obama made efforts to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba in 2015, the Cuban government has failed to improve on human rights.

  11. The embargo should be maintained because open travel is insufficient to promote change in Cuba; many democratic countries already allow travel to Cuba with no results. Despite the steady flow of tourism from western countries, the Cuban government still maintains total control over its people. Most Cuban nationals are banned from tourist areas such as resorts and beaches, so there would be limited contact with US citizens vacationing there.

CON Cuba Embargo – We should end the Embargo

  1. The United States should end the Cuba embargo because its 50-year policy has failed to achieve its goals. Feb. 7, 2012 marked the 50th anniversary of the embargo, and the goal of forcing Cuba to adopt a representative democracy still has not been achieved. If 50 years of sanctions have not toppled the Castro regime, there is no reason to think the embargo will ever work.

  2. The embargo is an old and is unnecessary because Cuba does not pose a threat to the United States.

  3. The embargo harms the US economy. The US Chamber of Commerce opposes the embargo, saying that it costs the United States $1.2 billion annually in lost sales of exports that would go to Cuba if we could sell to them. A March 2010 study by Texas A&M University calculated that removing the restrictions on agricultural exports and travel to Cuba could create as many as 6,000 jobs in the US.

  4. The embargo harms the people of Cuba, not the government as intended. Cubans are denied access to technology, medicine, affordable food, and other goods that could be available to them if the United States lifted the embargo. A report by the American Association for World Health found that doctors in Cuba have access to less than 50% of the drugs on the world market, and that food shortages led to a 33% drop in caloric intake between 1989 and 1993.

  5. The United States should not have different trading and travel policies for Cuba than for other countries with governments or policies it opposes. The United States trades with China, Venezuela, and Vietnam despite their records of human rights violations. Americans are permitted to travel to other communist countries, nations known for human rights violations, and even places on the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. So, there is no justification for singling Cuba as the one nation in the world that is off limits.

  6. Most Americans want improved diplomatic ties and open travel and trade policies with Cuba.

  7. Cuban Americans, the people who understand the situation best, think the embargo is not working.

  8. Free trade, not the isolation of an embargo, can promote democracy in Cuba. An influx of US tourists and businesses would expose the sheltered island to our culture and freedoms, and weaken the Castro regime's control over information coming into the country.

  9. Lifting the embargo would put pressure on Cuba to address problems that it had previously blamed on US sanctions. Cuban officials have not been forced to take responsibility for problems such as a failing health care system, lack of access to medicine, the decline of the sugar industry, decrepit plumbing systems, and water pollution because they use the embargo as a scapegoat.

  10. Most of the world opposes the embargo, and maintaining it is detrimental to the reputation of the United States among the international community. The United Nations has formally condemned the US embargo on Cuba every year since 1991. The US sanctions make the US look stubborn and childish in the eyes of the world. During his Mar. 2012 visit to the island, Pope Benedict XVI said the embargo "unfairly burdens" the Cuban people.

  11. The embargo prevents the people of Cuba from joining the digital age by cutting them off from technology, and restricts the electronic flow of information to the island. Less than one in four Cubans accessed the internet in 2011. Maintaining the embargo gives the Cuban government an excuse for not building a better technological framework and prevents foreign companies from expanding internet access to Cubans.


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