Is the Embargo on Cuba a Good Thing?

Cigar Aficionado doesn’t think so. In their latest issue, which hasn’t arrived at my house yet, they argue for lifting our embargo on Cuba. Here’s a little taste of what they have to say:

We believe it is time to end the trade embargo and open the doors of Cuba to Americans. We don’t gloss over the widespread and justified condemnation of some of Cuba’s domestic policies that have limited political freedoms and human rights. But after 50 years of isolating Cuba to try to achieve change there, we think it’s time to try something else, and we believe that opening up the island to American visitors, and thus our influence, will help produce the kind of changes we want much quicker than any other policy.

To tell you the truth, I am conflicted about this issue. Obviously, opening up Cuba would give me more access to what are suppose to be the world’s best cigars. That would be a plus.

On the other hand lifting the embargo could be construed as a tacit acceptance of a brutal communist dictatorship. That would be a negative.

Here’s my thoughts – right now – on lifting the embargo on Cuba:

What destroyed the Soviet Union? Ever since the beginning of the Cold War our presidents would meet with the current Soviet leader and they would talk mainly about arms. Then something changed.

During the ’80s Gorbachev actually allowed for individual rights to become a part of those discussions. I firmly believe that the death of communism really started at this point because communism, at its essence, is about the superiority of the collective over the individual. Once the leader of communism allowed for the mere existence of individual freedom their flawed and dangerous system was allowed to implode.

All of this brings me to the current arguments for lifting the embargo on Cuba. The theory goes that once America’s embargo is lifted on Cuba we’ll be able to go in there and change hearts and minds. That Americanism will shine a light into every shadowy corner of communism and freedom will light up that island off the coast of Southern Florida.

Unfortunately, I don’t think that would happen. Changing a system, neigh, a people, isn’t something that happens through cross-cultural exchange. No matter how many baseball games we play with Cubans or how many cigars we share they will still be Cubans and we will still be Americans. And Cubans, at least the ones that are in power, are strident communists.

Really, the only thing working in favor for lifting the embargo is our own selfishness. We want free access to their cigars, their resorts, and their beaches. At no time do I see how we would work with Cubans to improve their lives and, if some neighbors are any example, Cubans’ lives will not improve from an embargo-less Cuba.

What? Think I’m wrong? Then look at Mexico. How are Mexicans doing? They have a de facto socialist country and, according to our military, they’re just about as bad off as Pakistan. Last time I looked their country was more than open to America; we’re very close trading partners and average Mexicans have horrible lives.

Which brings me back to my point: lifting the embargo will not improve one Cuban life long term. The only thing that will improve life in Cuba long term would be a dramatic infusion of American entrepreneurialism.

So while I would personally benefit from lifting our embargo on Cuba I don’t see how Cubans would benefit. Cubans will only see an improvement in their lives when their leaders acknowledge and work to protect individual liberties. Without that as a precondition I would not be in favor of lifting the embargo on Cuba.

Published by Travis Lindsay

I am a guy who smokes cigars.

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  1. Hi all,
    The thing that Is most important between Cuba & the U.S. Is the Cultural side,
    Which has alway been, look at the history between Cuba & the U.S. Cubans will never bend their knees to the U.S.A. When you ask the Cubans, They like the people but hate the gouverments .At least the U.S. has done one thing that no one has done before and that Is keeping an Embargo going for 50 years that
    was useless & supide and did nothing to better things .From J.F.K. (Who loved a good Cuban cigar ) to today, Nothing has been done,so,why change ? It’s working for everyone else in the WORLD.
    Guy Buscema,
    Calvisson, France