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Cuba Embargo Turns 50

By Matthew Yglesias  

"Cuba Embargo Turns 50"

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Ian Vasquez observes that this is the fiftieth anniversary of America’s ridiculous embargo of Cuba:

It is time to lift the embargo. Doing so will not save communism from its inherent flaws; that system collapsed spectacularly elsewhere around the world in places where the West maintained or established trade. Keeping the sanctions will only further allow the dictatorship and its sympathizers to explain away the regime’s own failings. It would be better for Cubans and the world to see the unraveling of Cuban communism without U.S. intervention. When a free Cuba is eventually born, it will more easily flourish if enemies of the open society cannot rely on a false narrative about how the colossus of the North finally killed off the island’s socialist experiment.

A good way to start would be by lifting the travel portion of the embargo. That measure would expose ordinary Cubans to hundreds of thousands of American citizens, thus inevitably expanding Cuba’s informal economy and establishing innumerable relationships that would make Cuban citizens more independent of the state. The regime may try to reap the benefits of increased revenues, but it will have unleashed a social dynamic that will be difficult to control.

To add a few other points, Cuba aside it’s simply preposterous for the government of a democracy to be restricting which countries its own citizens are allowed to visit. What’s more, it’s worth emphasizing that insofar as a relaxed embargo would present new economic opportunities to the Cuban regime the way for them to maximize those opportunities is to walk further down the China/Vietnam path and relax their grip on the economy. Consequently, the impact of relaxing the embargo on Cuban freedom is necessarily going to lie somewhere in the positive range.

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