The United States enacted an embargo on Cuba in 1960; cutting off all ties with Cuba in an attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro.
President Eisenhower ordered a complete stoppage of United States exports to Cuba The United States policy on Cuba proved counter-productive and negatively impacted the Cuban citizens. The embargo moved Cuba towards an oppressive government and helped Castro justify his oppression. The United States intended for the embargo against Cuba to further benefit Cuba as a country and lead Cuba more towards a democratic government.
Instead this embargo forced Cuba towards a more communist government causing much more destruction than anticipated by the United States. President Eisenhower developed a plan to overthrow the Cuban President, Fidel Castro, when he determined the embargo ineffective. President Eisenhower disclosed his intention to eliminate Castro by either armed force or assassination. The tension between the United States and Cuba heightened when it became known that President Eisenhower planned to overthrow Fidel Castro. The United States entered into Southern Cuba to takeover the government by armed force.This invasion came to be known as the Bay of Pigs. The Cuban government was unaware of the exact date the exile force would land but Castro expected the imminent attack. The Bay of Pigs Invasion happened on April 17 through the 19 in 1961. A United States ship carrying all the weapons and ammunition intended for the invasion, sunk on the first day. The unsuccessful Bay of Pigs Invasion created more hostility between the United States and Cuba.
After the Bay of Pigs invasion the United States pressured its allies to reduce their commerce with Cuba, in hopes of forcing Castro into submission.The Bay of Pigs Fiasco primarily caused the Soviet Union’s involvement with Cuba. The United States’ inability to make decisive decisions regarding government policies with Cuba encouraged the Soviet Union to exert more power over Cuba. The United States failure to decisively act led the Soviets to believe that their country’s economic and military involvement with Cuba would not endanger United States and Soviet relations. “The single most important event encouraging and accelerating Soviet involvement in Cuba was the Bay of Pigs Invasion. Some of Castro’s advisors wrote that he openly traded United States dominance for Soviet dominance. The embargo on Cuba significantly damaged the Cuban citizens. The embargo restricted Cubans from traveling to the United States and limited the number of United States citizens allowed to enter into Cuba. The embargo considerably impacted Cuban’s daily lives including access to basic needs such as food, health care and education. The embargo also resulted in political oppression. Nancy Pelosi reiterated this when she argued against House Resolution 927.Ms. Pelosi stated, “ H. R. 927 tightens the embargo against Cuba—an embargo which has only resulted in inadequate access to medicine, to food, to healthcare, to education, and to development, for the Cuban people. It has not had an impact on Castro. It has not contributed to an open society. It has not opened any doors to freedom. ” The embargo on Cuba negatively affected the daily lives of the Cuban people. The Cuban people suffered because of the embargo that ultimately provided no sizeable gain for the United States.The United States failed to overthrow Fidel Castro but continued to impose the embargo that caused pain and destruction for the Cuban citizens. Castro’s willingness to accept Soviet domination allowed Cuba to rely on the Soviets for economic support. Prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Cuba relied heavily on the Soviet’s for the majority of their imported food. When the Soviet Union fell, Cuba lost billions of dollars in economic aid. The United States knew of Cuba’s dire economic state resulting from the fall of the Soviet Union.Yet, the United States continued ignoring the desperate state of the Cuban people hoping that the depravity of food would force a citizen revolt against Fidel Castro. The United States used food as a weapon instead of lifting the embargo and providing the aid the Cuban society desperately needed. During a subcommittee meeting about consumer affairs, Stephen Weber president of the Maryland Farm Bureau stated, “ We support immediate resumption of normal trading relations with Cuba. In short, food should not be used as a weapon.U. S. rade policy has demonstrated that more than forty years of isolationism has failed to produce a democratic reform. ” The United States failed to act and in consequently the Cuban people suffered not Castro. The United States should have allowed the importation of wheat and corn in to Cuba. Helping the Cubans would have had no damaging consequences for the United States. In 1961 the Cuban government embarked on a campaign to eradicate illiteracy. Cuba, once one of the most literate countries in the world, slowly lost their prominent lead in their advancing education system.Teacher shortages in Cuban schools made the educational process difficult. The students lacked updated books with the newly accepted ideas. Had the United States lifted the embargo on Cuba, the access to the educational tools available in the United States would have further benefited the country. Students from the United States are finding that it is extremely difficult for them to get a license to travel to Cuba for educational purposes. Cuban’s are not allowed to travel to the United States thus making it extremely difficult for them to gain intellectual freedom.The embargo limits the knowledge and growth of education between Americans and Cubans. The embargo made it almost impossible for Cubans to broaden their horizons and become familiarly with the new advances in science and technology. There is little freedom of expression in Cuba because the government controls the media. Cubans are in danger of imprisonment if they speak out against the government. The Cuban constitution allows citizens freedom of speech as long as it adheres to the objectives of a socialist society.Dissidents are prohibited from voicing their opinion about the government. If Cubans tried pursuing their individual rights imprisonment would result. Public disorder or alarming the citizens of the rights Cubans lack resulted in imprisonment. Fidel Castro justified the oppression of the Cuban citizens by declaring that any dissent against the Cuban government actually supported the United States in their attempt to overthrow Castro. “ The Cuban government’s justification for oppression can be largely encapsulated in three words: the United States. The United States continued to let the government’s harsh feelings about Castro control political decision-making instead of helping citizens and political prisoners held in violation of their basic human rights. Although many political leaders in the United States are against the embargo, the United States continued to pass legislation strengthening the embargo against Cuba. The Cuban Liberty and Solidarity Act adopted on March 6, 1996 by the United States House of Representatives intensified the United States embargo against Cuba, seeking international sanctions against Castro’s government.This resolution also proposed a plan to support a transitional democratic government for Cuba. Although this bill passed, political leaders did not agree with the sanctions placed against Cuba. One of these leaders spoke candidly about her opinions on the United States embargo against Cuba. Representative Nancy Pelosi stated, “I oppose H. R. 927 [Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act of 1995]. because the embargo has not contributed in any way to increased freedom and democratization in Cuba. Rather it has only made life hard for the Cuban people.Fidel Castro is still in power and suffering no consequences from this embargo. The people of Cuba, however, suffer daily because of it. ” The political leaders throughout the world disagreed with the United States and their position on the Cuban embargo. The United Nations, in October 1997, voted to support a nonbinding resolution encouraging the Americans to end the embargo against Cuba. One hundred and forty three countries supported this resolution, while only two voted with the United States those being, Israel and Uzbekistan. Most all of the countries in the World opposed the United States embargo on Cuba.Even with most of countries in the World encouraging the Unites States to lift the embargo, the United States stayed committed to its vendetta against Fidel Castro. On February 19 2008, Fidel Castro stepped down as President of Cuba. He renounced his title to his brother, Raul Castro. The United States should have taken this as an opportunity to lift the embargo, and renew its political and economic ties with Cuba. The United States should have acknowledged and acted on the majority of the world’s opinion and should have given up its vendetta against Fidel Castro.This would have been a perfect time for the United Stated to open the doors to a more democratic society by providing aid instead of an embargo that had not produced any results except oppression of the people in the last half of century. The embargo placed on Cuba was intended to weaken the power that Fidel Castro had over Cuba and eventually force him to resign. Thus helping Cuba move towards a more democratic government. Instead the embargo on Cuba only strengthened Castro’s power and lead Cuba more towards a communist government.The embargo has stripped the Cubans of basic rights that could be available to them if the embargo was lifted. The intention was to help the Cuban people escape Castro’s reign but instead it forced them to endure years of hardships.