In the wake of protests by thousands of Cuban citizens, the U.S. government and its rightwing supporters are pointing to Cuba’s socialist economic system as the root cause of suffering by the Cuban people. The Cuban government, on the other hand, and its leftwing supporters here in the United States are pointing to the U.S. embargo as the root cause of the suffering.
Actually, they are both right.
Socialism is a dismal, failed, deadly, and destructive economic system that brings impoverishment and tyranny with it. Just ask the people of North Korea and Venezuela.
By the same token, economic embargoes inflict massive economic suffering on the people of a targeted nation. Just ask the people of Iraq, who lost hundreds of thousands of children to U.S. sanctions in the 1990s.
Ever since 1960, the Cuban people have been caught between a vise. One side of the vise is Cuba’s socialist economic system. The other side of the vise is the U.S. embargo. In the middle of the vise are the Cuban people.
The protests in Cuba provided President Biden with the opportunity to exclaim that he stands with the protestors and the Cuban people. That’s pure nonsense. The entire point of the U.S. embargo is to knowingly, intentionally, and deliberately bring death and suffering to the Cuban people. That’s been its intent from the beginning. The idea has been to inflict so much death and suffering on the Cuban people that they rise up and oust Cuba’s communist regime from power and re-install a pro-U.S. dictatorship in its stead.
Thus, the dark irony of the Cuban protests is that they will actually encourage U.S. interventionists, especially those in the Pentagon and the CIA, to maintain and strengthen their embargo, in the hope that the economic situation will become even worse, thereby encouraging more protests.
If Biden really cared about the Cuban people, he would do everything he could to persuade the Pentagon, the CIA, and Congress to lift the U.S. embargo totally and permanently. That would enable Americans and foreigners to travel freely to Cuba and spend and invest money there. It would also enable American businesses to import goods from Cuba. Those things would go a long way toward relieving the economic plight of the Cuban people, despite the continuation of their socialist system.
At the very least, lifting the embargo would remove the ability of the Cuban authorities and their leftwing supporters here in the United States to continue blaming the dismal economic conditions in Cuba solely on the embargo. The entire focus at that point would be on the horrors of Cuba’s socialist system.
There is something else to recognize about the U.S. embargo. It is a direct assault on the economic liberty, freedom of travel, and private-property rights of the American people. The right to spend one’s money however he wishes is one of the fundamental, natural, God-given rights described in the Declaration of Independence. So is the right of freedom of travel. No government, including the U.S. government, has the legitimate authority to infringe on the natural, God-given rights of people.
Yet, that is precisely what the U.S. embargo does. If an American travels to Cuba and spends his money there without the official permission of the U.S. government, upon his return to the U.S. he will be arrested, prosecuted, convicted, incarcerated, and fined by his own government. Ironically, this economic control exercised by the U.S. government over the American people is no different in principle from the economic control exercised by the Cuban government over the Cuban people.
The American people need to embark on a journey of serious soul-searching. Do they want their government to continue inflicting death, suffering, and harm on innocent people as a way to achieve a political goal? Do they want to continue living under a regime that infringes on their natural, God-given rights? Or do they want to restore their own economic liberty and freedom of travel, which would, at the same time, help to bring liberty and economic prosperity to the Cuban people?