The Instigator
FunkeeMonk91
Pro (for)
Winning
45 Points
The Contender
tjzimmer
Con (against)
Losing
15 Points

The Trade Embargo With Cuba Should Be Lifted

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/9/2008 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 6,638 times Debate No: 1593
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (21)

 

FunkeeMonk91

Pro

Note: I am going on vacation tomorrow morning, so if we don't finish and I forfeit a round, I'm sorry in advance.

The trade embargo with Cuba is not justified. Many people claim that we cannot trade with a Communist nation. But think about where we get most of our exports: China. China is a Communist nation and is more dangerous than Cuba. China is a well-known violator of human rights and will one day pass America as the only world power. Why are we helping them with our trade? But before I get too off topic, let's go back to Cuba. An economic partnership with Cuba would greatly benefit both countries, especially if Cuba agreed to allow tourism. Americans are led to believe that Cuba is the enemy because they once were a nuclear threat. Well, WWII was started by Germany, but now Germany is one of our largest trading partners.

I guess the real question is, why not lift the embargo?
tjzimmer

Con

With the end of the Cold War and collapse of the Soviet Union, there has been a growing chorus of cries for the United States to lift the economic embargo on Cuba. This chorus has included even such responsible anti-communist voices as those of former President Richard Nixon and the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal. Such calls are curious, coming as they are just when it appears that the 32-year-old embargo may be bearing fruit. Five years after losing the financial patronage of the former Soviet Union, Fidel Castro's communist regime is facing severe shortages and growing popular discontent. Cuba's economy has shrunk by more than half since 1989, the black market is more dynamic than the formal command economy controlled by the state, and Fidel Castro's efforts to build a huge tourism industry and attract billions of dollars in new foreign investments have proved dismal failures.

This economic collapse has imperiled the stability of the Castro regime. The Soviet Union's demise robbed Castro of his ideological base and about $4.5 billion a year in direct subsidies, exposing the complete failure of the communist revolution to improve the lives of the Cuban people. Moreover, as the economy's collapse has accelerated, popular discontent has increased to levels that threaten the survival of the regime. That was made clear in August, when thousands of Cubans rioted in Havana's Old Waterfront district, and by the subsequent flight to sea of more than 30,000 Cubans of all ages. Another indication that Castro's grip on power is slipping is the increased repression of organized dissident groups by Cuban security forces.

While the embargo may finally be working, Castro remains defiant. He refuses to allow true free-market reforms and rejects democratic political reforms. Instead, he is conducting an aggressive international campaign to get the embargo lifted without making any economic or political concessions in return. Castro is trying to force the United States to lift the embargo in order to resuscitate his dying communist regime with billions of dollars in trade, investment, and international aid.

Although the United States today stands virtually alone in its insistence on maintaining the embargo, it must stand firm. Thus far, the Clinton Administration has resisted pressure to lift the embargo. To hasten the transition to a post-Castro Cuba, the Administration should: Maintain the embargo until irreversible economic and political reforms leading to democratic capitalism take place.

Admit no more Cuban refugees into the U.S. beyond the 20,000 per year agreed to during negotiations in September. The 32,000 Cuban refugees now at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo and in Panama should gradually be processed for admission to the United States.

Demand that U.S. allies in the Western Hemisphere, including Mexico and Canada, stop coddling Castro and start calling for real change. Link future free trade agreements between the United States and Latin American/Caribbean nations to redoubled efforts by these countries to persuade Castro to liberalize Cuba's economy and political system. Prepare for the possibility that Castro's collapse could unleash a lengthy period of social and political unrest, and perhaps even civil war, in Cuba. Reinforce the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo in anticipation of attack by pro-Castro forces.

Provide financial and other support to more than 150 dissident groups within Cuba that are struggling to bring down Castro. Increase the broadcasting activities of Radio Mart´┐Ż.

Let this embargo stand as forever showing the world what Communism does to your nation. If change comes then I will fully support the lift and cooperation of a liberal Cuban regime, but until any sign of Communism exists, I will stand firm.
Debate Round No. 1
FunkeeMonk91

Pro

I disagree with your statement that the embargo is hurting Castro. This embargo is keeping him in power. The economic instability has weakened the Cuban people and has made them complacent to the dictatorship. Recent interviews with big Cuban dissidents have shown that even Castro's greatest enemies are for economic engagement with the US and against the embargo. I'm sure most Cubans feel the same way. Also, the embargo was put in place partly to stop Castro's rule. It has been forty years, and nothing has changed! It's time for a new strategy and this strategy needs to be free trade. Besides, it is illogical and contradictory to say that free trade with Castro's Cuba will "resuscitate his dying communist regime."

More important that hurting Castro, is helping the people. Many are starving and in horrific poverty. Free trade would bring life back to the Cuban economy, therefore giving life back to the Cuban people. Even in the offhand chance that lifting the embargo doesn't get rid of Castro, at least his people will be in a better situation. Both nations would be able to benefit from one another, but the Cubans need it so much more. Why not help out the innocent people when it asks for little to nothing from us?

Are your 5th, 6th, and 7th paragraphs your alternatives to lifting the embargo? If they are, they aren't relevant because you are supposed to be debating why the embargo is good. Not the alternatives.

Your last paragraph is weak. Why does the fact that Cuba is Communist affect whether you support economic partnership with them? After 40 years, the Cubans have yet to make a major attack on us, and, excluding the official stances, Cuban/American relations are great. Americans visit Cuba all the time (80,000 a year) and no incidents of violence or conflict have ever been reported. The same goes for Cubans in America. So why is their Communism so dangerous? Besides, what happened to the 1st Amendment? Even though they are not citizens, I believe that the right to free speech is inherent. Cubans (even though most are not Communists) have a right to express what political ideologies work best for them. Maybe we don't agree, but that's none of our business. We should respect their choices to become Communist, because it certainly does not affect or hurt us.

Also, you didn't address my statement about China. China is Communist, why don't we place an embargo with them? Not only are they Communist, like Cuba, they are also a serious threat to American, worldwide, and even China itself. security. Most political experts will tell you that China is going to replace America as the greatest world power. Isn't this harmful to America? Also, China is the lead supplier of weapons to the Janjaweed, the militia force in Darfur that is responsible for over 400,000 deaths and 2.5 million displaced persons. They are directly responsible for genocide. If they do that, who knows what they will be willing to do to America. Isn't this harmful to the global situation? And the Chinese government has been responsible for countless human rights violations...with in their own country! What I'm trying to get at here is that China is not a nice country, in fact, you could even argue that they are extremely pernicious to international security.

Why do we trade with China, but not with the Cubans? They are both Communist. The only difference is that China uses money from us to directly supporting genocide, while Cuba just wants to get back on its feet. What has Cuba done to harm us? I have yet to see any reason NOT to lift the embargo.
tjzimmer

Con

To set the background for my reasoning behind one aspect of the answer in the affirmative would be to use the sanction/embargo policy setup in Iraq during Saddam Hussein's period of rule as a parallel. Pro has been promoting the idea that the USA should rescind their policy of embargo on Cuba for the good of the Cuban people. I will show you that whether there is an embargo or not, the unfortunate situation of Cuba's people will only change, when Castro and his minions are out of power or they change their policies.

For example, BEFORE the sanctions were imposed on Iraq, millions of Iraqi citizens were paying a massive economic and humanitarian price under Saddam's brutal dictatorship, not to mention all the while, he was building billion dollar palaces throughout Iraq.

Furthermore, AFTER the sanctions were imposed, millions of Iraqi citizens were paying a massive economic and humanitarian cost under his brutal dictatorship, not to mention all the while, he continued building billion dollar palaces throughout Iraq. However this time, instead of continued international outrage toward Saddam and his domestic policies, the outrage was pointed at the coalition of states supporting the sanctions, especially the USA. The sanctions in the short term did not change Saddam Hussein's lifestyle very much, but in the long run, weakened his ability to rule domestically and for the most part allowed the coalition to easily achieve their initial goals in both wars because of his lack of support at home.

OK, now on to Cuba. Many people are presently blaming the USA, and its Cuban embargo policies, for all of the social ills and economic hardships that the Cuban people are experiencing. In a similar situation as mentioned above with Iraq, when Castro was receiving his annual welfare check from the motherland (the former USSR), in the amount of $4.5 billion per year, his people continued to suffer as before, all the while, he continued to live a life of extreme luxury. Fast forward to the present, the Soviet Union no longer exists and Fidel's dole cheque is non-existent, BUT Fidel still lives a life of luxury, all the while his people go without.

The embargo is slowly working, it shows the Cuban people that the USA will stand behind its threats (ie. embargo) toward their dictator and gives them the assurance that we will at least stand firm this time, no matter what it takes.

Until the Cuban government allows the people the economic and political reforms they deserve, the embargo should stand.

Now on to Refute your last post specifically:

The reason we need to keep the embargo intact because the people in power in Cuba run deeper than Castro. What I mean is that many of government officials are corrupt and pro Communist because they make a lot of money exploiting the citizens.

Americans are not able to vacation in Cuba. Cuba is not open for American investment. This is actually a good thing because if we open Cuba up this investors would be free of America tax laws and create a monopoly that would effect Cuban citizens negatively.

People are repressed but can upheaval/resist. It is possible for citizens of Communism to revolt. Big brother America doesn't always have to help. We put the embargo on to weaken the dictatorship now it is up to the citizens to revolt and overthrow. However, they do not do this they just come to FL illegally and we gave them amnesty in the past. Look at the nations that broke away from the old Soviet Union. The Cubans can do this we would help end of story.

Cuba has the lowest GDP in the western hemisphere because of the communist policies that haven't changed so we must maintain our stubbornness with the embargo. Lifting the embargo, Cuba would receive substantial money that would refuel the regime and make their rule even more repressive by controlling this new money flow. Opening up trade with this nation wouldn't benefit the citizens like you claim would because that's not how Communism works.

China isn't fully communist. They have a free market economy. We get cheap labor and products so America makes cash from china. If Cuba had this to offer we would trade but since we have a decent Cuban population in America, the American people would not be in favor of taking advantage of Cuban workers. Since we are so use to Chinese benefits we look the other way. If you are so against this you shouldn't wear the clothes you have or your cell or everything basically. So that's why we support china they are progressive enough for us.
Debate Round No. 2
FunkeeMonk91

Pro

First off, I don't think it's fair to compare Iraq and Cuba. They have
similar political structures yes, but besides that, they have virtually
nothing in common.

The scenario you described in paragraph four about Castro's wealth is
invalid. From the time he was paid by the USSR until present day, the
embargo has been in place. Castro's wealth is protected by the embargo.
If we allow free trade, Castro's days of corruption and oppression are
drastically reduced. Also, you say the embargo is slowly working. It has
been in effect for 40 years! That is a very long time to cut of
political and economic ties to one nation; especially one as innocent as
Cuba. I think it's only fair to try a new strategy. Introducing Cuba to
American business is the most logical policy (I will admit, during the
60s, an embargo was not such a far fetched idea, but it has gone too far).

Look, as long as we keep the system the way it is, no change will come
to Cuba. Like you said, there are others under Castro that will take his
place. They will most likely rule with the same iron fist as he did.
That is why we must change something. Both Americans and (civilian)
Cubans have nothing to loose. Why not? When a policy doesn't work, isn't
it just common sense to implement a new strategy?

And now, to specifically refute your arguments:

While Americans cannot legally visit Cuba, it happens all the time. Just last year, Michael Moore made a film where he spends a week or two in Cuba without consent from American officials. Even several teachers at my high school have been there many times. It's not a big deal to visit and many do.

Tax law violations would not be a problem if an organized aproach was taken when introducing free trade to Cuba. If a concrete plan is implemented, and is enforced, this will not be a problem.

Like I said before, the embargo has not weakened the dictatorship. If it had, we would have seen some change over the 40 years the embargo has been in place. But even if it had weakened, the Cuban people have seen from thier own history what happens when you revolt: things just get worse. A revolution would just bring about unneccessary violence and choas. All of this can be avoided if we lift the embargo.

"...the communist policies that haven't changed so we must maintain our stubbornness with the embargo." Don't you see what's wrong with this statement? They haven't changed BECAUSE we have the embargo. Removing it will change the Cuban people for the better. Introducing free trade will greatly reduce Castro's power and control. It's not like Castro will usurp all profits made from American exports. He couldn't do that if he wanted too.

So, according to your last paragraph, America should only trade with countries that exploit their workers, unless we have citizens in the country? Don't we have Chinese citizens? Besides, who said anything about taking advantage of Cubans? What's wrong with trading with countries that don't violate basic human rights? Maybe Cuba won't get you 500% profit like China, but Cuba should be given a chance. Why are we rewarding China's deplorable working conditions, but turn our backs to an innocent nation?

The only reason why I have cell phones and computers from China, is because I really don't have a choice. It is extremely difficult to find anything non-Chinese. But if I ever have a choice between an American made product, or a Chinese (or basically all South East Asian countries), I will go American, because I do not support human rights violations, no matter how large the profit.
tjzimmer

Con

The 100 year old investment-banking firm of Warburg, Dillon Read (on Park Ave. N.Y.) (now UBS Warburg) has offices in 39 foreign countries - including the Bahamas, the tiny Cayman Islands, Hong Kong and the Channel Islands. Makes you wonder why, doesn't it?
Non-resident foreign companies, trusts, banks and individuals can trade stocks, bonds, commodity contracts and options 100% free from U.S. capital gains taxes.
Under the U.S. Tax Code, only when a foreign company, foreign trust or nonresident alien individual takes up permanent residence within the United States will he be subject to U.S. capital gains taxes in the same way as domestic taxpayers. For a corporation permanent residence would be a U.S. office or warehouse. Capital gains realized by foreign corporations and other nonresidents "not engaged in a trade or business within the United States" are exempted from tax under IRC Section 871 and IRC Section 881 & IRC Section 897(c)(3).
Moreover, U.S. Treasury Regulations Section 864-2(C)(1) & (2) provides an exception for what embodies being "engaged in a trade or business within the United States". Under U.S. regulations, a nonresident's Stock Market transactions carried-out through a U.S. stock broker, independent agent, or an employee are not considered to cause the nonresident to be "engaging in a trade or business within the United States".
What you fail to realize that the Cuban people WILL be subject to more oppression and taking advantage of. Cuba will now turn into a garbage industrial giant of cheap hotels and business. And then the money earned goes right back to whatever foreign nation has developed these, leaving the Cuban economy penniless. So, the Cuban people are in the same spot they are with the open market. As long as the dictatorship stands they will suffer. The embargo lift will only make money to profit a repressive regime. Iraq is fair to use because it is a factual comparison of success that you fail to provide yourself. I have concrete evidence where you rely on many "what-ifs". You agree that the reigns of Cuba run deep with Comms so what makes you think that lifting the embargo will change the way they rule? I am not sure. I didn't know giving Communist money and power will make them want to change their nation for the betterment of their citizens. Yes it has been very long since we have enacted the embargo, however if it was necessary and beneficial for the US to lift it, wouldn't it have been done already? Perhaps after the 25 year mark? This is because of the facts I presented along with the unpredictability of Cuba's cooperation at the international markets through free trade, human rights, etc. As for China I never said that the rights of these workers or Cubans workers should be ignored. I merely made a point that we benefit from the exploitation of the Communist free market approach in China. I do not support human rights violations either, but hey that's why we aren't the ones making cash and decisions in D.C. right?
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by JamesIsrael 9 years ago
JamesIsrael
I have personally been to Cuba and I find both of con side argument laughable. Seriously, almost every nation now is able to trade with Cuba and sell what the island needs, everyone except America. When I was in Cuba, I was also surprised to see the extent of economic recovery that has taken place since the collapse of the USSR in 1991. Nowadays, supplies are abundant, and tourism is flourishing. Around the island, tourists from all over the world, from France, Germany, Britain, China, Canada, Australia and other countries can be seen all over the island. America, why not just relax a bit and take advantage of that perfect vacation resort with nice sand and sun right in your back yard?
Posted by FunkeeMonk91 9 years ago
FunkeeMonk91
The only problem was that your real world facts and examples weren't relevant and/or didn't really do anything to support your argument, I thought. But well done, regardless.
Posted by tjzimmer 9 years ago
tjzimmer
I provide more facts and real world examples and I lose? I am not for keeping the embargo, but I thought I did a good job playing devil's advocate. So much for voting on the better debater instead of personal views.
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