Is US responsible for Cuban economic scarcities?


Fact Box

  • On Sunday, July 11, 2021, protests arose in San Antonio de los Banos, Cuba in response to the “worst economic crisis since the fall of the Soviet Union.”
  • President Joe Biden announced his support for Cuban protesters on Monday, July 12, 2021, with a statement, “The United States stands firmly with the people of Cuba as they assert their universal rights…And we call on the government of Cuba to refrain from violence in their attempts to silence the voice of the people of Cuba.”
  • In response, Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, tweeted that the White House had no authority to speak about Cuba, saying, “His government has allocated hundreds of millions of dollars to promote subversion in our country and implements a genocidal blockage, which the the main cause of economic scarcities.”
  • According to the Heritage 2021 Index, Cuba is ranked at 31 out of 32 for economic freedom in the American region, but its score is “well below the regional and world averages.” 
  • Cuba’s tourism industry dropped more than 80 percent after the uptake of coronavirus, which is the “second source of income after its medical missions.” In 2019, the tourism industry contributed 2.97 billion US dollars to the gross domestic product, but 2018 was the highest record at three billion. 
  • As of July 12, 2021, there have been 244,914 coronavirus cases in Cuba, with 1,579 deaths.

Tyler (Yes)

The United States holds a great deal of culpability for Cuba's economic woes over the past 70 years. The United States has repeatedly turned a cold shoulder to a country just 90 miles from US soil. Repeated legislation formulated by the US government has isolated the country and prevented it from forming any significant allies. 

Since the early 1960s, the US has imposed a series of trade embargoes against Cuba. In 1960, US President Dwight D. Eisenhower struck back at Cubas newly instituted communist regime by freezing all Cuban assets in the US and issuing the first of many trade embargoes. Just a couple of years later, President John F Kennedy set a complete trade embargo that ultimately deprived Cuba of $130 billion over 60 years.

In 1961, John F Kennedy withheld the Bay of Pigs invasion in support of the Cuban Revolution. Kennedy originally deployed 1,400 American trained Cuban exiles to overthrow communist leader Fidel Castro. However, Castro was informed of the impending attack and was prepared. The Cuban government killed over 100 people and captured the remaining exiles. Although the CIA has made several attempts to overthrow the Cuban government, they lacked adequate planning and execution. 

In 2017 President Donald Trump imposed another travel and trade ban barring Americans from planning private vacations in Cuba and even restricted educational tours as well. Although the plan was intended as an attempt to frown upon communism, the United States' strangle-hold strategy of completely isolating Cuba has proven to be ineffective over the past half-century and is the reason Cuba’s economy is failing.

Louis (No)

One country's lack of preparation does not constitute another's emergency. Cuba's economic crisis is not, nor will ever be, the United States' fault. Cuba's current turmoil is a result of years of mismanagement on the part of the Castro Regime, which is merely another example of the horrifying consequences of socialism. 

Firstly, the US does indeed do business with Cuba, weakening the argument that US embargoes are crippling their economy. The US exported nearly $300 million worth of products to Cuba in 2015 alone. This demonstrates how slight of an impact the embargo has in actuality. 

Perhaps the Cuban government should instead work to revamp the confidence that their citizens have in the prospect of entrepreneurship. A 2017 poll revealed that 65% of Cubans think there should be more private ownership of business, with 56% wishing they could start their own business. The Cuban government does not value small business and entrepreneurship, which are the backbone of a strong economy.

The most logical explanation for Cuba's disastrous economy is that socialism simply did what it does best: fail. Cuba's laws and regulations impair its citizens and empower its government. Foreign employers are not even allowed to pay Cuban workers. They are instead mandated to pay the Cuban government.

Conclusively, the obvious depletion of Cuba's economy exemplifies how destructive socialism is. Just as it did in Venezuela, the illusionary promise of socialism was met with the reality that government nomination simply leads to economic despair. As citizens in the streets of Cuba protest against the Communist Regime, US media should stop projecting self-deprecating falsehoods about the nation's involvement in Cuba's economy.

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