Is there a reason we still don't trade with Cuba?

I don’t want to get into the politics of “should we/ shouldn’t we” but I’m just curious if anyone in this administration or recent ones have offered any reason to still dislike Cuba.

Florida. There’s a huge, politically influential community of Cuban ex-pats down there, who are very passionate about hating Castro. And the rest of the country doesn’t really care one way or the other about the issue, so they effectively end up setting US policy.

http://www.closeup.org/cuba.htm
http://www.leler.com/cuba/embargo.html


Reasons? Mostly human rights violations. And, from the last link above, yes there has been recent creation and application of policy and law regarding Cuba.

What Miller said. The displaced Cubans in South Florida have a huge political block that makes people fear conceding the state to the opposite party in a presidential election if we stopped being stupid on the issue and caving to their hatreds.

Earlier discussions include:
What is our beef with Cuba?
Is there any point, any more, in the U.S. having an embargo on Cuba?
Why do we trade with China but not Cuba?

You’ve got to be kidding me. Castro is truly a tyrant, but that has never stopped us from trading with anyone. For chrissakes, we’ve been trading with Haiti and the DR right along. The Embargo is the result of the fact that the Cuban population in the US is centered in one crucial swing state, and the fact that we committed so much in resources and credibility to ousting Castro.

Those are the purported reasons. I never morally evaluated them or offered analysis.

Man, I thought this was GQ. I didn’t mean to post this in GD. Noobie mistake I suppose. Oh well, balls a rolling…

To clarify further:

The Cuban ex-pats in Florida (and elsewhere) are the possible or likely reason that recent administrations have kept old policies intact and created new policy. It is not, as the OP was asking, the reason for such policy.

Oh, come on, it isn’t just the Cubans in South Florida that force the issue.
It’s also some Cubans in New Jersey.

No, no, it’s a GD question with no uncontroversial factual answer. If you posted it in GQ the mods should and almost certainly would move it to GD.

This is a bit off topic, but relevant to the general issue:

I’ve been rereading Merle Miller’s Plain Speaking and he says Harry Truman said Eisenhower should have gotten on the phone, invited Fidel up for a chat, and worked out something with him (Castro’s only alternative, per Truman, was to link up with the Soviets which is, of course, what happened, guaranteeing Cuba a place on America’s Shit List for the duration of the Cold War).

I’m inclined to think we still snub Cuba mainly out of habit. And as others have pointed out, the expatriated Cubans in this country keep things stirred up. Perhaps things will change after Castro is gone.
Side question: does Cuba want to trade with the US?

Highly relevant to this thread.

Sure, but not as desperately as they used to. They’ve got a sweet deal going with Venezuela, now. Venezuela provides Cuba with oil, Cuba provides Venezuela with doctors. (Cuba has the best medical-education system in the region.)-

A Straight Dope perennial, we seem to have this question every few months.

The real answer is that Castro is still alive after 40 some years of dictatorship. If he had keeled over like Ho Chi Minh did, we’d be trading with Cuba right now.

Once Castro dies the embargo will be lifted. Not until then.

In truth, Cuba is simply the largest Caribbean Island and they as a group are screwed, blued and tattooed economically.

They all produce the same few products (sugar, rum, tobacco and tourism) for export. They are in cutthroat competition with each other and that drives prices down. Anyone out there really prefer a vacation in Jamaica even if the Virgin Islands is a little cheaper?

So while Cuba’s case is a little odd because of US policy, and massive Russian and Venezuelan aid, it is also quite typical of the region. They have nothing much to sell, and the profit margins are very, very thin.

The Caribbean Islands (other than Cuba, the U.S. territories, and the Dominican Republic which is part of DR-CAFTA) just set up a common market through CARICOM. (They even hope to have a common currency and common passport eventually.) Maybe that’ll help. Free trade within CARICOM, a common tariff barrier at its “border.”

Would a post-Castro Cuba want to join CARICOM, I wonder?

That would help. Another problem in the region is the lack of enough population to make a market for locally-produced stuff. As a result, most everything is imported.

While I dislike the Castro regime, the Caribbean is economically backward throughout the region. The fact that Cuba is not doing well is a reflection of that as much as the local problems of governance.

Further reading:



A tariff barrier can stimulate local industry. Just ask Henry Clay. And Abe Lincoln.

Yes a tariff barrier can help local industry by raising prices for local consumers. A larger market also stimulates local industry, but without the price hike.