In half a century now, Cuba has being facing economic, financial, and commercial embargo imposed the United States. When Cuba nationalized foreign property and businesses (nationalization of American-owned oil refineries in Cuba) in the 1960s, the Unites States government imposed an economic sanction against Cuba by stopping sugar cane imports from the country. Moreover, the scope of the sanction has widened over the years comprising of economic, financial, and commercial sanctions. In 1960, the US came up with a policy to isolate the island nation through a number of economic and financial sanctions such as the trade embargo and financial transactions, freezing of Cuba government assets in the US, and prohibition of financial transactions with Cuba. International forums including the UN General Assembly and the International Community have continuously condemned the ongoing embargo against Cuba because it violates international law such as violation of human rights (Joy, 2013).
Correction Policies and Improvements
The various US administrations have made attempts to correct the Cuba embargo for instance, the Clinton Administration (1998) to enhance direct flights to Cuba, streamlining of commercial sale of medicine, equipment, and medical supplies to Cuba and resumption of cash remittances by the US nationals in order to support their relatives in Cuba. In 1999, Bush administration further implemented policies intended to help Cuba people. An example is the broadening of cash remittances to Cuba residents to ensure that all the US residents can send cash remittances to Cuba and loosening travel bans to Cuba for a number of travelers categories such as sports activities, religious, and professional researchers (Daniel & Andrew, 2008).
The Bush administration, on the other hand, tightened the sanctions by isolating Cuba through a number of economic sanctions. Bush administration further tightened the travel restrictions, cash remittances, and economic sanctions to Cuba. In 2003, Bush administration formed an interagency commission to end Cuba dictatorship and achieve US assistance to a post-dictatorship Cuba. Bush administration tightened Cuba sanctions in order to achieve political changes in Cuba for instance, the release of political prisoners in Cuba in order to achieve a free and fair election in the country. Bush administration maintained that in order to enhance US-Cuba relations, Cuba needs to change its political position by releasing the political prisoner’s on human rights grounds. That said, Bush administration did little to correct the Cuba embargo imposed by the United States in the 1960s (Mark, 2014).
The Obama administration, on the other hand, has maintained the US economic sanctions but the government has implemented policies to support Cuba people. One of the corrective measures towards the embargo is the lightened restrictions to Cuba by the US citizens (2010 bill intended to end US travel to Cuba). Despite the fact that tourism in Cuba by the US citizens is banned, the government has lightened restrictions on family travels on the basis of education and missionary. Moreover, most of the American companies have received licenses to have ferry travel from Florida to Cuba. However, Americans need to access approval to travel to Cuba (Mark, 2014).
The other plan to correct Cuba sanction is the establishment of diplomatic relations by the US president Barrack Obama and Raul Castro in order to loosen the economic, financial, and commercial policies between the two countries. In 2009, Obama administration initiated a policy to enhance US-Cuba relations, although it would take time to build a long standing trust (overcome the many decades of mistrust). This move has enhanced economic transaction between the two countries for instance, enhanced businesses and financial institutions whereby US banks can now open accredited accounts in Cuba banks. The Obama administration has also continued to fund for democracy and human rights projects in Cuba in order to see that democracy is achieved in the country (Mark, 2014).
When the United States president Barrack Obama took office in 2009, there have been intense debates to correct (lift) the US embargo against Cuba based on the negative impacts in economic, financial, and commercial in Cuba and across the globe. Over the years, both the Democrats and Republican members of the US congress have been able to pass bills to correct Cuba embargo. The US embargo against Cuba has experienced increasing opposition because of the fact that economic and financial opportunities in trade with Cuba are not fully exposed. Other industries in the United States for instance, the agro-industry have lobbied the US congress to lift Cuba sanctions that followed the adoption of TSRA (Amnesty International, 2009).
Other improvements towards US embargo to Cuba include the migration issues whereby the US and Cuba arrived at two migration accords. The US migration policy was changed to allow Cubans fleeing from their homeland to the United States. Other improvements include the Cuba reconciliation act to lift the trade embargo on Cuba introduced in 2013, the Export Freedom to Cuba Act that allows travel between the United States and Cuba, and the Free Trade with Cuba Act intended to lift US trade embargo on Cuba. The other improvement is the promotion of the American agriculture and medical exports, supplies and equipments to Cuba. This is important because it enhances the export of agricultural products to Cuba. It has also removed the export restriction on medicines, supplies and equipments to Cuba. The other improvement is the US-Cuba normalization act intended to lift the US trade embargo to Cuba and the trademark sanction. This is intended to enhance non-discriminatory trade treatment and to remove Cuba from the terrorism list (Mark, 2014).
Despite these efforts to end the US embargo, the US embargo against Cuba has continued to increase over the years because Cuba has a poor record on human rights and the fact that it is a one party communist state that lacks democracy. However, over the years, the US has continued to fund for democracy and human rights through various institutions including USAID, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and the State Department. For instance, in 2015, the Obama administration funded $20 million for Cuba democracy while in 2014; a similar amount was given for human rights. The USAID Cuba program has enhanced a number of US-Based non-governmental organizations in order to develop civil societies, achieve a rapid transition to democracy, and also build solidarity with Cuba human rights activists. Despite these policies to enhance US-Cuba relations, the imprisonment of USAID subcontractor Alan Gross in 2009 owing to his work to a rapid transition to Cuba democracy has become a problem to an improvement in US-Cuba relations (Amnesty International, 2009).
- Quote paper
- Caroline Mutuku (Author), 2018, Attempts to Correct the US Embargo Against Cuba, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/430698