ISSN 2674-8053

Democracy in Cuba depends on ending embargoes, not maintaining them

Photo: Yamil Lage/AFP/Getty Images

in february 1962 the president of the united states, John F. Kennedy, decreed a trade embargo against Cuba. 60 Years later, the situation remains the same.. After all, why the United States declared an embargo against Cuba? What are the results achieved?? It still makes sense to maintain embargoes against Cuba?

Kennedy's idea when declaring trade embargoes against Cuba was to reduce the threat that the island posed to the United States due to its alignment with the communist axis., remembering that we were at the height of the Cold War. Its objective was to weaken the Cuban economy, which could lead to a popular uprising that questioned the communist government leading to its downfall.

as we can currently see, even after 60 years the objective of changing the government did not occur. There were changes with the end of the Castro dictatorship, but the Cuban government remains controlled by the communist party.

There is no doubt that the threat that Cuba could pose to the United States has diminished, but not because of the embargo but because of the change in the international system. The Cold War is over and the existence of some (few) communist countries does not pose a threat to the international system as a whole or to the United States specifically.

Much of the current rationale for maintaining the embargo is that Cuba needs to become a democracy in order to, So, end the embargoes. Past 60 years of this policy, it is possible to see that it will not achieve the expected results. On the one hand, it is a limited explanation insofar as there are many other countries in the world that are not democracies and that, even so, have no embargoes. quite the contrary, are important trading partners of the United States, like saudi arabia, major oil supplier to the United States.

At the same time, the existence of the embargoes ends up offering a reason for the government to have a reason to maintain it in the format as it is. The existence of an enemy that "explains" why Cuba is having the problems it is in makes it easier to maintain the dictatorial government.

The conclusion is that embargoes are not effective. Can be instruments for momentary pressure, but they have no guarantee of success and may end up generating a result that is the opposite of what was intended..

Taking that into account, I propose a different vision for Cuba. If the objective is really to change the nature of the Cuban government, establishing democracy in the country, embargoes must be lifted and trade stimulated. It's doing the exact opposite of what's currently done.

The greater the trade and economic possibilities, the greater the tendency for private sectors to benefit and gain autonomy. Currently Cuba already has actions of this type, we are no longer talking about a fully planned state. The more private sectors engage in economic activities, stronger they will be to promote other visions of how the country should be conducted. This will lead to strengthening the idea of ​​greater participation, the coexistence of different ideas, channeling debates on differences within state environments (therefore, non violent)… that is, we are talking about a democracy.

Rodrigo Cintra
Post-Doctorate in Territorial Competitiveness and Creative Industries, by Dinâmia - Center for the Study of Socioeconomic Change, of the Higher Institute of Labor and Enterprise Sciences (ISCTE, Lisboa, Portugal). PhD in International Relations from the University of Brasília (2007). He is Executive Director of Mapa Mundi. ORCID