The Instigator
sqharawa
Con (against)
Losing
9 Points
The Contender
dlw7505
Pro (for)
Winning
12 Points

Cuban Embargo

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/21/2007 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,564 times Debate No: 753
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (7)

 

sqharawa

Con

This is an interesting issue to me. The US, as we all now, has had an embargo against Cuba since 1962, justified in the context of protecting the US from the "dangers of communism." However, as we also know, the US imports roughly $203 billion dollars worth of goods each year from China, a communist nation.

Given the history of the Cuban Revolution, Castro and Guevara evading every attempt by the CIA-trained counter coups and direct CIA forces to kill them and prevent the revolution, it seems quite clear that the embargo has been a since-we-couldn't-kill-you kind of thing. It is an illogical attempt at restricting the Cuban government. Furthermore, given the context under which Clinton enacted the embargo into law, it hardly seems like a logical attempt at convincing the Cuban citizenry that the US means well for them.

If the US was truly in the practice of placing trade embargoes on communist countries, China would have one too. This sort of double standard creates reason for much skepticism. Once again the US has managed to reduce the legitimacy of its foreign policy, through this sort of gross ideological contradiction. The embargo itself is none other than a personal attack on the Cuba government rather than a just attempt at reform.
dlw7505

Pro

I would like to start this debate by stating that personally I am against an embargo on Cuba. However I accepted this challenge because I always argue against the embargo and figured this would be a good opportunity, to see how well I can play devils advocate.
Pleas don't vote based on personal opinion, rather the context of the debate.

History lesson
The Cuban embargo first imposed Feb 3, 1962, as a response to Castro's confiscation of privately owned properties and productive assets. He first started to hurt Cuba's economy by enforcing a command economy (So don't blame the embargo for their hurt economy) which prohibited private enterprise and ownership of property, which completely destroying the free market. This ideology, in and of itself hindered growth and prosperity.
The original goals of the embargo were three fold.
1. We wanted Cuba to open up its economy and establish democracy
2. To weaken Cuba's communist regime
3. To force Castro to relinquish power

Since then the Embargo has undergone several changes. It went from being a "Partial Embargo" in 62' (Under Eisenhower) banning all trade with the exception of food and medicine.
1963 all travel to Cuba was prohibited. (Kennedy Administration).
1975 The U.S. announces that it will allow foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies to sell products in Cuba, and that it would no longer penalize other nations for trade with Cuba (Organization of American States)
1977 Embargo on Travel and spending limits in Cuba dropped. (Carter)
1981 Embargo tightened (Regan)
From there it has just gone back and forth.

Every president had a different reason as to why they further enforced the embargo. This was not just a "since-we-couldn't-kill-you kind of thing." This was a since you continue to try and defy the United States type of thing. Defy us by Maintaining Soviet relations. Defy us by invading Africa. Defy us by remaining a communist nation who has hundreds of thousands of human rights violations.

However come the early 90's Cuba even lost its Soviet support which in turn deprived them of billions of dollars, only accelerating their economic collapse.

As for the China argument-
According to John P. Sweeney, a former Policy Analyst
Capitalism is destroying communism in China, but the driving force is not international trade. It is a strong domestic market economy tolerated by the communist government. China's market economy is dominated by many millions of small entrepreneurs who are devouring the communist command economy. Moreover, China's market economy has been growing in depth and diversity since the mid-1980s. Free trade is promoting faster market growth and expanding the personal freedom of millions of Chinese, encouraged by entrepreneurs and investors from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and elsewhere who are providing the capital, entrepreneurial skills, and international trade contacts which are compelling China to transform its economy. In the process, a vast and prosperous middle class is being created. In Cuba, however, the Castro regime is not willing to liberalize the economy and create a free market.
Debate Round No. 1
sqharawa

Con

Castro's confiscation of privately owned properties and productive assets was a consequence of his communist ideology. The embargo itself was therefore a consequence of communism in Cuba, as I said. When you say the ideology itself "hindered growth and prosperity," it is clear you do so from the capitalist mindset. When thinking in terms of capital accumulation by private interest, you are right in your statement. However, the debate at hand is centered around a communist country born of a true grassroots revolution. Your statements about growth and prosperity are out of context, seeing as communism places its emphasis on the people, rather than on the profits of private corporations. The ideology is fundamentally OPPOSED to the "growth and prosperity" of the private business. His nationalization of industries, then, was merely a consequence of his political ideology, and the embargo a response to it.

As for the three-fold goals of the embargo you pointed out, you are dead on. The goals of opening up the Cuban economy, establishing democracy, weakening the communist regime, and force Castro into relinquishing power, however, support my argument about the embargo itself, proving that it was merely a response to the fact that the revolution has succeeded--that the US was unable to prevent a peoples' revolution in Latin America (by now subversion of popular movements in favor of military dictators was common practice for the CIA).

By continuing the embargo for the fact that Cuba is a communist country, while failing to impose the same "consequence" onto other countries of the same ideology, the US has proven it as a policy of vengeance, rather than of practicality. The economic reforms in China are relatively recent in terms of its communism. By the standard placed on Cuba, and embargo should have been enacted long ago. As we know, however, the US has much to lose, economically, should it do so. Your stating of economic neoliberalism leading to improved conditions for the Chinese poor is not only incorrect, but irrelevent. First, the rural Chinese have experienced increased poverty rates, a loss of jobs, and disease over recent years (you may check the BBC if you remain skeptical of such "progress"). This is not exactly what I would call improved conditions. Free trade has NOTHING to do with the people, in any circumstance. It concerns only the wealthy transnational corporation who has the monetary power to access the tariff-free markets. It is a simply a new way to subvert the poor in the globalized economy, nothing more. Second, as we've established, the communism in Cuba is fundamentally opposed to the development of private business, and is therefore unconcerned with the "opening up" of its markets for the exploitation of world powers. Why would an ideology committed to its working poor want to encourage the capital growth of foreign business?!

You have provided evidence to suggest that the embargo in Cuba was created because they are a communist country. However, this was precisely my point upon beginning the debate. The failure of US intelligence to subvert the revolution, as they had previously done throughout the region without contest, resulted in the embargo. Perhaps my stating it was a "since-we-couldn't-kill-you kind of thing" was too informal (the prose which followed clarified this, however). A country whose political desires happen to run contrary to the US' does not deserve such sanctions.

As a finishing statement, it seems interesting you included the violation of human rights as a reason the US would address Cuba as negatively as it does. The US, clearly, has no concern for human rights itself and cares little about supporting countries who themselves violate these principles (i.e. Pinochet's Chile, Fox's Mexico, and the 1960s Guatemala and Nicaragua, to name a few regional and contemporary examples).
dlw7505

Pro

dlw7505 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
sqharawa

Con

sqharawa forfeited this round.
dlw7505

Pro

dlw7505 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by clsmooth 9 years ago
clsmooth
Not only that, but Castro probably wouldn't be in power either. The current policy certainly hasn't worked.
Posted by Harlan 9 years ago
Harlan
Castro critics talk about how bad stuff is in Cuba, but it probably wouldn't be as bad if the US did not impose this embargo.
Posted by clsmooth 9 years ago
clsmooth
Of course, the act of placing an embargo is a communist act in and of itself.

Free trade. Ron Paul 2008.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by longjonsilver 8 years ago
longjonsilver
sqharawadlw7505Tied
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Vote Placed by coolman 9 years ago
coolman
sqharawadlw7505Tied
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Vote Placed by Ashbash 9 years ago
Ashbash
sqharawadlw7505Tied
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Vote Placed by aam3550 9 years ago
aam3550
sqharawadlw7505Tied
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Vote Placed by dlw7505 9 years ago
dlw7505
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Vote Placed by sqharawa 9 years ago
sqharawa
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Vote Placed by Vikuta 9 years ago
Vikuta
sqharawadlw7505Tied
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