Policies on Cuba


In Juan Rulfo's novel, Pedro Paramo, the reader follows a dusty road to
a town of death, where the following is said ?Up and down the hill we went, but
always descending . We had left the hot wind behind and were sinking into pure,
airless heat. The stillness seem to be waiting for someone. ?It's hot here ? I
said ?You might say, but this is nothing'. My companion relied. ?Try to take
it easy. You'll feel it even more when we get to Comala. That town sits on the
coals of the Earth, at the very mouth of Hell. They say that when people from
there die and go to Hell, they come back for blankets.'?
This was the view many Americans had of Cuba in the late fifties and
sixties. Cuba was seen as the entrance to hell ninety miles from our shore.
Our foreign policy towards Cuba was formulated with these beliefs; as a result
the United States assisted in a planned invasion of Cuba, planned the
assassination of its leader and set up a political and economic embargo in an
attempt to destroy her and her people.
Many things have changed since those time, we no longer see Cuba as the
doors to hell, those doors have been rotating among other military strong men,
this time in the Middle East. Fidel Castro is no longer the target of any
American assassination plans, the United States no longer deals in the
assignation of political leaders, now we have allies who are more able and
discrete in doing that type of work. The only ancient legacy that remains in
our foreign policy towards Cuba is a political and economic embargo implemented
at the beginning of the Cold War in an attempt to crush a third world country.
At the time of the embargo its supporters assured the country that Cuba
would not survive a year without political or economic aid from the Western
World. Three decades later Cuba is still led by Castro and our policy has not
changed, maybe it is time to rethink this policy
Once the embargo took effect, Cuba and Fidel Castro had no choice but to
turn to the Soviet Union and Communism for salvation, both economically and
politically. Cuba was dependent on exports for hard currency and imports for
finished goods with the embargo Cuba was left unable to provide for herself. As
Castro turned to the Soviet Union for economic aid he also embraced Communism
and gave up Socialism a factor that would deepen the level of fear in the United
States. Cuba and the Soviet Union started a relationship in which Cuba
benefited the most.
Like many relationships, Cuba's and the Soviet Union's ended after
thirty years of Cold War with the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the economic
stability of Cuba. In 1991 as the Soviet Union disappeared and the former
Eastern Bloc countries struggled for their own existence the future of Cuba once
again was questioned. Subsidies, favorable trade agreements, economic and
military aid from these countries disappeared.
In the early 90's Cuba lost their only major economic connection to the
outside world. By 1992 the total value of trade turnover (imports plus exports)
with Eastern Bloc countries had been reduced to 7% of what it had been just 3
years previously. The price of its two major exports, sugar and nickel had
dropped 20 and 28 per cent, respectively, on the world market. At this time the
United States instead of offering Castro a dignified way out of Cuba's massive
problems by loosening the 30 year old trade embargo instead insisted on
furthering tightening it with the 1992 Cuba Democracy Act. This act not only
made it more difficult for American companies to deal with Cuba but also set out
to punish foreign companies that had dealings with the island nation.
As Communism fell in Europe and Asian Communist countries started to
become a little more open once again the death of Fidel Castro's Cuba was being
predicted as the United States led another attack on it's economic livelihood.
Now in 1996 a relic of the Cold War, Castro , is once again under attack
by an other relic Jesse Helms. With the urging and political contributions of
Cuban American groups, the fact this being an election year and the the quick
trigger finger of a Cuban pilot, Senator Helms has been able to push the Helms-
Burton Law through Congress and into the law books. This law not only attacks
Cuba but the rights of foreign companies.
Will Castro and Cuba be able to withstand this latest attack? Probably.
The world has already condemned the law