United Nations Condemns Cuba Embargo. Should the Embargo be Lifted?

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This past Tuesday, November 13, 2012, the United Nations General Assembly voted 188-3 to condemn the United States “commercial, economic, and financial embargo against Cuba for the 21st year in a row.” (Fox News). The embargo was initially enacted in 1960 and became a near total embargo in 1962. Speaking before the General Assembly on Tuesday, “Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez rallied against the embargo calling the U.S policy inhumane, failed and anachronistic.” (Fox News). Rodriguez said that this policy is against the national interest of the United States and harms the interests of its citizens and companies during a period of economic crisis and high unemployment. (Fox News). He further stated, that despite President Obama’s offer of a new start with Cuba following the 2008 election, “the reality of the last four years has been characterized by a persistent tightening of the economic, commercial, and financial blockade.” (Fox News). A United States Senior adviser for western hemisphere affairs, Ronald D. Godard, defended the embargo as “one of the tools in our overall efforts to encourage respect for the human rights and basic freedom to which the United Nations itself is committed.” (Fox News). The Obama administration has said that restrictions on “travel and remittances” have eased, but the United States “is not prepared to lift the sanctions entirely until the communist-run nation enacts more far-reaching political and economic reforms.” (Fox News).

Personally, I believe that the embargo should be lifted because free trade helps everyone. Although we do not line up politically with how their government is run, we have the opportunity to open free trade and take full advantage of some of their natural resources and top exports. An agreement would allow both nations to create jobs and create competitive advantages for producers in each respective nation. Although some people may view this change negatively, if as a nation we could see the economic benefit behind lifting the embargo this should be able to happen.

Please consider the following questions: (1) What is your position on the embargo? (2) Do you feel the embargo should be lifted or do you feel that the embargo should still be kept in place until the Cuban government makes changes?


  1. The international consensus demonstrates that the world is urging the United States to lift the embargo against Cuba, but the United States is a nation not easily wooed by the international community. I respect Peter’s argument, especially due to the dire conditions of our current economy. Lifting the embargo could benefit the U.S. economy, and free trade is beneficial. At the same time, I respect the U.S. decision to refuse to give in to the Communist country. It is vital to recall the history between the U.S. and Cuba, and the turmoil that Cuba has caused in foreign relations. The U.S. does not need to rely on Cuba to benefit economically. Maybe lifting the embargo will benefit the U.S. to an extent, but that is certainly not the motivating factor behind the UN’s overwhelming desire for the U.S. policy to change. I find our President’s action here is reasonable, for if Cuba enacts more far-reaching political and economic reforms, the embargo shall be lifted. Until then, I really do not think it is necessary to give in, especially after such a long holdout.

  2. Patrice, while you bring up many good points I do not necessarily agree with the viewpoint of us “giving in.” I believe that term creates a sentiment and a belief system that it is our duty to promote toughness and fear, as opposed to worrying about what is best for the general American public. However, for those who argue that it is our duty for other countries to abide by our beliefs, then by opening a free trade agreement and lifting the embargo, it could perhaps provide a path for Cuba to see the beauty of a free market opposed to a government run type of system. In addition, the potential that lies with free trade with Cuba has benefits not only for now, but would also behoove us on our future conquests of assuring we have enough energy for our growing population. Economically speaking, South America has been booming due to multiple factors and specific countries such as Brazil. A possible free trade agreement would also provide us with cheaper products in the US on normal goods such as sugar and oil. Due to an increased government-spending program launched by the Cuban government for offshore drilling that they believe will start a incredible era of oil production, some type of agreement with them could really provide great dividends for our future. The bottom line is whether or not we agree with their specific ideas on how to govern a society, it is simply irresponsible for us not to trade with them, or at least open up the possibility of free trade, when they can provide us Americans with cheaper daily items.

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