As longtime FFF supporters know, we have long called for a lifting of the U.S. embargo on Cuba, primarily on moral grounds.
First, the embargo targets the Cuban people with economic privation and even death in the hope that the Cuban people will revolt against Cuba’s communist regime and replace it with a pro-U.S. rightwing dictatorship, much like that of Fulgencio Batista, the brutal and corrupt pro-U.S. rightwing dictator who was ousted from power in the 1959 Cuban revolution. As we have long emphasized here at FFF, that’s no different from what terrorists do. They target civilians with death in the hope of altering a government’s political policies.
Second, the embargo operates to destroy such fundamental, God-given rights of the American people as freedom of travel, freedom of association, freedom of trade, liberty of contract, private property, and economic liberty. As the Declaration of Independence states, no government, not even the U.S. government, can legitimately destroy natural, God-given rights that preexist government. As the Declaration points out, when that happens, it is the right of the people to alter or even abolish their government and institute new government that protects, not destroys, the exercise of natural, God-given rights.
That’s where many people in the Cuban-American community in America have done such a big disservice to the American people. In their quest to oust Cuba’s communist regime, they have prevailed on members of Congress to destroy the rights of the American people, under the rationale that the end justifies the means.
Those are the two big moral arguments for lifting the decades-old, Cold War-era U.S. embargo against Cuba.
But there is also a strong utilitarian argument for lifting the embargo.
If the embargo were lifted, Americans would be free to flood into Cuba. They would include tourists, businesses, and cultural groups. They would be conversing and interacting with Cubans, sharing principles, ideas, business practices, products, services, technology, culture, and lots of other things. They would be opening up the minds of the Cuban people to things that their communist regime would prefer that they not be aware of.
While foreigners usually despise U.S. governmental officials (with some justification), foreigners love Americans in the private sector. In fact, private-sector Americans are much more effective diplomats than bureaucrats in the State Department.
My hunch is that Cuba’s communist regime, understanding the dangers of such interactions to the regime itself, would then be doing what the U.S. government does with its embargo. It would be trying to figure out ways to prevent Americans from visiting Cuba and interacting with the Cuban people. But at least then, the U.S. would have the moral high ground rather than the moral low ground that it currently holds. Lifting the embargo would also mean that Cuba’s communist regime could no longer be able to blame Cuba’s socialist economic woes on the embargo.
The pro-embargo crowd says that the economic prosperity that would come to Cuba by lifting the embargo would fortify the communist regime. The idea is that more tax money would then be flowing into the regime.
But so what? The communist regime has been in power since 1959. The embargo clearly has failed to secure its ouster. So, what’s worse: an impoverished nation with a communist regime or a prospering nation with a communist regime? Moreover, a wealthy private sector is a much more effective counterweight to a totalitarian regime than an impoverished one.
Last July, thousands of Cubans took to the streets to protest economic conditions in Cuba. If only thousands of Americans would take to the streets here in the United States to advocate an end to the evil, brutal, and immoral decades-old, Cold War-era economic embargo against Cuba. Lifting the embargo would be among the best things that could ever happen to both the Cuban people and the American people.