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should the United States lift the cuban embargo

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/22/2017 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 512 times Debate No: 99211
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It is important to lift the Cuban embargo in order to allow the United States gets the access to Cuba"s medical biotechnology. There are 7000 scientists and engineers that produce new treatments and medications. According the World Health Organization, the Cuban biotech industry holds around 1,200 international patents and markets pharmaceutical products and vaccines in more than 50 countries " but not in the United States. Ending the embargo on these products could make life better for millions of Americans suffering from a range of diseases. For the 26 million people in the United States who have diabetes, this has special significance. Each year, 80,000 American diabetics suffer amputations. Cuba has developed a safe and effective medication that reduces the risk of amputation. It"s being used successfully by tens of thousands of patients in Cuba and in over 20 countries. Cuban scientists have also developed a drug that destroys coronary clots, an innovative burn treatment, vaccines for meningitis B and hepatitis B and C and developments in a vaccine against HIV-AIDS. But the embargo prevents the sharing of these developments. "For Americans who can benefit from these medical advances, ending the embargo isn"t just an ideological question. It"s a matter of their health, even life or death."


The United States should maintain the Cuba embargo because Cuba has not met the conditions required to lift it. Proclamation 3447 signed by President Kennedy on Feb. 3, 1962, established the embargo against Cuba to reduce "the threat posed by its alignment with the communist powers." [35] The embargo was strengthened by the 1992 Cuban Democracy Act [6], and the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (Libertad) Act of 1996 (also known as Helms-Burton) [49] which specified conditions for terminating the embargo. According to US law, Cuba must legalize all political activity, release all political prisoners, commit to free and fair elections in the transition to representative democracy, grant freedom to the press, respect internationally recognized human rights, and allow labor unions. Since Cuba has not met these conditions, the embargo should not be lifted.

Ending the embargo before the Cuban government meets the conditions specified by US law would make the United States look weak. Lifting the sanctions unilaterally would be an act of appeasement that could embolden Cuba to join forces with other countries such as Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, China, and Iran to promote anti-American sentiments or socialism in the Western Hemisphere. [1] The United States should not risk sending the message that it can be waited out or that seizing US property in foreign countries, as Castro did in Cuba when he took power, will be tolerated. [59]

The Cuban government has consistently responded to US attempts to soften the embargo with acts of aggression, raising concerns about what would happen if the sanctions were fully lifted. President Carter tried to normalize relations with Cuba by opening the US Interests Section (a de facto embassy) in Havana in 1977. Fidel Castro then orchestrated the Mariel Boatlift, which sent 125,000 emigrants (including criminals and mentally ill people) to the United States. [27] [28] [29] In 2003, President George W. Bush began to ease restrictions for visiting family members in Cuba, but tightened the rules in 2004 in response to Cuba's crackdown against political dissidents. [4] President Obama relaxed the US travel policy in 2009 to allow unlimited travel to Cuba to visit family members. [8] That same year, the Cuban government arrested an American aid worker and sentenced him to 15 years in prison, and he was not released until Dec. 2014. [81] Since the United States agreed to re-open the US embassy in Cuba, the Cuban government has continued to persecute and arrest its own citizens. There were 630 political arrests in June 2015. [96] One protestor claimed "The Cuban government has grown even bolder" as a result of the normalized relations, just before he was detained along with 89 other dissidents prior to Secretary of State John Kerry's arrival in Havana in Aug. 2015. [95]

The embargo enables the United States to apply pressure on the Cuban government to improve human rights. Several international organizations have written about the long history of human rights abuses and repression in Cuba. At least 4,123 people were detained for political reasons in 2011, and an estimated 6,602 political detentions occurred in 2012. [7] [86] The Congressional Research Service reported that there are an estimated 65,000 to 70,000 prisoners incarcerated in Cuba as of May 2012 (although the Cuban government reports 57,337 prisoners) - among the highest in the world on a per capita basis. [7] [4] The freedom of expression and right to assemble are severely restricted by the government. The 1996 Helms-Burton Act stated that the United States has a "moral obligation" to promote human rights in keeping with the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the embargo is a bargaining tool. [49]

Since there is virtually no private sector in Cuba, opening trade would only help the government, not regular Cuban citizens. The 90% state-owned economy ensures that the Cuban government and military would reap the gains of open trade with the United States, not private citizens. [3] Foreign companies operating in Cuba are required to hire workers through the state; wages are converted into local currency and devalued at a ratio of 24:1, so a $500 wage becomes a $21 paycheck. A Cuban worker was quoted as having said, "In Cuba, it's a great myth that we live off the state. In fact, it's the state that lives off of us." [64]

The United States is able to target the Cuban government with its embargo while still providing assistance to Cuban citizens. US policy allows people to visit family members and send money to relatives in Cuba, and also permits travel for humanitarian and educational reasons. Over one billion dollars in remittances (money transferred from abroad) are sent to Cuban families each year, mostly from relatives in the United States. [4] Congress has given USAID a total budget of $197 million between 2001 and 2012 to promote democracy and human rights in Cuba. [4]

The uncertainty over who will succeed Raúl Castro makes it unwise for the United States to change its policy before a new leader is in place. An aging Fidel Castro yielded power to his younger brother Raúl for health reasons, but Raúl is also over 80 years old and there are questions about how much longer the Castros will remain in charge of Cuba. John Hughes, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and former President of the American Society of Newspapers, stated: "The worst scenario would be the emergence of an Army strongman who plunges the country into martial rule." [21] The embargo will be a necessary bargaining chip when a new leader takes power.

The majority of Cuban Americans, the people who understand the situation best, support the embargo. US Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, a Cuban American, and long-time proponent of the embargo, wrote in a press release, "In addition to imposing economic pressure on the Castro regime and holding it accountable for actions against U.S. interests, the embargo is a moral stance against the brutal dictatorship. Over the last 50 years, the embargo has served as a constant form of solidarity with the Cuban people." [5] In 1991, 87% of Cuban Americans in Miami supported the embargo, and as of 2011, 53% still support maintaining it. [25] [26]

Cuba should be subject to sanctions because it is known to have repeatedly supported acts of terrorism. Cuba has been on the US "State Sponsors of Terrorism" list since 1982. [9] The US State Department consistently finds evidence of Cuba's involvement in promoting violence, giving terrorists a safe haven, and harboring US fugitives. Members of the Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA), a terrorist organization that operates in Spain, live in Cuba. [10] Black Panther activist and convicted murderer Joanne Chesimard, known as Assata Shakur, is one of 90 or more criminals who fled the United States and received political asylum in Cuba. [75] In 1996, Castro's military shot down two American civilian aircrafts, killing four people. [22] Cuba has also supported armed insurgencies in Latin America and Africa. [4]

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Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by DavidMancke 2 years ago

You did not answer the advantages offered by the "Plan."

Even if the hospitals are for the rich, the plan offered by Pro still gets all of the advantages listed, by trading with Cuba the US gets access to these products.

You lose.
Posted by Sovcody2 2 years ago
The World Health Organisation is full of crap.

The Fancy hospitals you see are for the country's rich, they don't give a crap about the poor.

Also, the World Health Organisations gets it's info from the Cuban Government.....

Which last time I heard was a Communist Dictatorship, and isn't very truthful about it's literacy rate either.
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