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Topics Homepage> The U.S. should end sanctions on Cuba

The U.S. should end sanctions on Cuba

PRO (7 assertions)


should- as in what we should do to benefit the U.S.
sanctions- as the economic embargos and tourist ban against Cuba

1. Assertion: Sanctions against Cuba have not worked at all in their long history

Reasoning: They’ve made no political difference in the last 43 years, why would they now? The very fact that we’re debating this topic proves that the embargo has had mixed results and none of them effective enough to lift it.

2. Assertion: Ending the tourism ban would help undermine the Cuban regime

Reasoning: Tourism and its accompanying economic growth and cultural exchange all have the potential to undermine the Cuban regime. Whenever people are exposed to economic freedoms and to foreign cultural liberties, they will seek those standards in their own political system. This will help force the Cuban regime to change or risk rebellion.

Evidence: John Kerry was quoted in 2003, “I think that people traveling in there weakens Castro."

3. Assertion: Sanctions give the Cuban government an excuse for their failures

Reasoning: Sanctions make it possible for the Cuban government to blame its failures on the United States. Many Cuban people accept this proposition put forth by the Cuban government. If sanctions were eliminated, the Cuban government would no longer have the capacity to blame their failures on the United States, and the Cubans would not longer believe any such excuses.

Evidence: Dan Griswold. "Four Decades of Failure: The U.S. Embargo against Cuba". Cato Institute. October 12, 2005
"As a foreign policy tool, the embargo actually enhances Castro"s standing by giving him a handy excuse for the failures of his homegrown Caribbean socialism. He can rail for hours about the suffering the embargo inflicts on Cubans, even though the damage done by his domestic policies is far worse. If the embargo were lifted, the Cuban people would be a bit less deprived and Castro would have no one else to blame for the shortages and stagnation that will persist without real market reforms."

4. Assertion: Sanctions damage the spread of democracy

Reasoning: Democracy usually spreads through the gradual exposure of people to democratic practices, liberal economics, and the higher living standards associated with these systems. Sanctions damage the exposure of the Cuban public to this all, making it far less likely that they will move to demand democracy and liberal economics from their leaders.

Evidence: Dan Griswold. "Four Decades of Failure: The U.S. Embargo against Cuba". Cato Institute. October 12, 2005

Assertions #5, 6, 7

CON (7 assertions)

No framework

1. Assertion: Sanctions are a powerful tool for liberalizing countries.

Reasoning: Aggressive U.S. engagement and pressure contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Bloc and it can work again. Now is exactly the time that the United States should be tightening down the screws so that Castro’s successor is forced to make real changes.

2. Assertion: Media helps soften Cuban popular impressions of US sanctions

Reasoning: While sanctions may be having unfortunate effects on the Cuban people, the impact of sanctions on the morale of the Cuban people and their respect for the United States can be mollified through various media sources broadcasting from the United States to Cuba. The intention of the sanctions to punish the Cuban regime and to help protect the freedoms of Cubans can be better explained to the Cuban people through these messages.

Evidence: Helms Burton Act of 1996. Thomas, Library of Congress
"Radio Marti and Television Marti have both been effective vehicles for providing the people of Cuba with news and information and have helped to bolster the morale of the people of Cuba living under tyranny."

3. Assertion: US sanctions back Cuban people's fight against totalitarianism

Reasoning: Sanctions are part of the Cuban people's fight against totalitarianism. They are part of an effort to bring about either regime change or to lever dramatic liberalization. Do drop sanctions would be to abandon the Cuban people's efforts to fight totalitarianism.

Evidence: Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL). "U.S. Sanctions Critical for Cuban Democratic Transition". October, 1999
"The United States Congress has always stood with the Cuban people's right to be free. This Congress and its Leadership has continued that admirable tradition, and I am deeply grateful for that support. As Congress is confronted by the issue of 'sanctions reform', I will continue to work for a policy of solidarity with and support for the Cuban people's right to be free."

4. Assertion: The Cuban regime won't democratize so must be ended with sanctions

Reasoning: There are strong indications that Castro, Raul, and the Cuban regime will not democratize. Their grip on power is firm and codified into Cuban law. The only way to wrench power from them is through sanctions, which has the power to cause regime change or leverage substantial reforms at the right time.

Evidence: "U.S. Cuba Policy". Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, US Department of State. July 30, 2003
"Defiant of Washington since seizing power in 1959, Castro has not only survived assassination plots, a US-backed invasion bid, and a US trade embargo but has worked hard to ensure his Marxist legacy endures."

Assertions #5, 6, 7