Thursday, January 26, 2017

PF Feb 2017 - Lift the Cuban Embargo - Pro Position

Resolved: The United States should lift its embargo against Cuba.

Pro Position

This resolution is short, simple, and easy to interpret as long we do not get too hung up on the meaning of the word 'embargo'. I am confident that many debaters will be talking about economic sanctions at various times and I don't necessarily see that as a problem. The economic impacts of the embargo are a major contention for both sides of this debate. Pro is expected to argue the U.S. embargo of Cuba should end. The embargo is basically a unilateral (one-sided) action which we have tried to force on other non-cooperating governments by passing laws which impose penalties on countries which do try to continue normal trade with Cuba. I guess we can assume, these other restrictions will also be ended since they will no longer be needed to enforce the embargo. There is no need to propose or debate the normalization of political relations with Cuba. The Obama administration has already taken some steps toward achieving that goal and it is possible, there may some steps forward or backward in that area under the new Trump administration. Much of that depends on the strength and activism of the anti-Castro immigrants and sympathizers in the U.S., many of whom have suffered losses or hardships under that regime and indeed, at the time this analysis is written, Raul Castro is still in power, and there are no signs of free and open elections and recognition of the kind of first amendment rights, U.S. citizens enjoy and this is a major contention for both sides of this debate. As a means of bringing about political change, Pro will argue the embargo has failed, whereas Con may argue the small steps toward reconciliation taken by Raul Castro are influenced by a desire to end the embargo.

End of Hostility

It is supposed by some authors, the new Trump administration will roll-back some of the efforts taken by the Obama administration toward normalization of relations with Cuba. Political engagement with the island-nation is often predicated upon ideological differences rather than common ideals and the there may be little reason to believe, under an "America First" lens on international relations, any further progress is likely in the short-term. Thus there is a significant political barrier which makes the Pro position of this resolution all the more necessary.

Lopez-Levy (2016):
However, the U.S. strategy toward Cuba has demonstrated it is not based on a rational foreign policy. Several elements allow for auguring a rough road ahead for the process of normalization of relations between the two countries.
In the first place, the last positions of nominee Trump at the end of the campaign were of hostility toward the rapprochement between the two countries. Such a posture was ratified in October by Vice President Mike Pence’s statement that the presidential directives on the rapprochement would be repealed after the January 20 presidential inauguration. The president-elect’s appointments for important posts in his administration, with potential influence on the U.S. Cuba policy, do not have a moderate profile but rather of rage, with an imperial agenda in the relationship with the NATO, Mexican and the western hemisphere allies.
It is logical to suppose dangers for the normalization of relations process in those appointments. General Michael Flynn, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and designated by Trump as national security adviser, has described Cuba as an adversary of the United States in a “world war” that comprises Islamic fundamentalists, Iran, North Korea and Venezuela.

In the eyes of many in the international community, the embargo is seen as an act of hostility by an aggressor bully against its weaker neighbor. From the outside world, there are no signs the embargo has accomplished any meaningful political objective and has only harmed innocent individuals.

Betancourt (2014):
Since these restrictions are imposed by governments unilaterally, they are usually viewed as acts of hostility toward the target of the restrictions when they involve international relations but not when they involve within “country” restrictions. Thus, from a political perspective they become mechanisms for sending signals of various types in an international setting. From a strictly economic perspective, however, their impact is the same. They restrict the level of trade across borders whether they are external or internal and provide incentives for illegal activities in the form of smuggling. Moreover, the end result often includes a negative economic impact on the entity imposing the restrictions as well as on those subject to the restrictions.[2]

Much of the world has condemned the U.S. embargo of Cuba. For 24 years in a row, the U.N. has called for the U.S. to end the embargo. Nearly all of the U.S. allies have called for an end to the embargo.

Rosenblum (2002):
While the United States maintains neither diplomatic nor commercial relations with Cuba, other countries have taken advantage of the opportunity to positively engage with the island nation. During the mid and late 1980s, most countries in Europe and Latin America resumed relations with Cuba. To date, Cuba has re-established diplomatic relations with 164 different countries (78 of which have embassies on the island), and Cuba has embassies in 86 countries and representation in several major international bodies. Cuba, along with the United States, is an original co-signer of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and an original member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The international community has repeatedly denounced U.S. policy towards Cuba. The United Nations (UN) General Assembly has voted for the past ten consecutive years to condemn the U.S. embargo against Cuba. In the most recent vote in November 2001, there were 167 votes in favor of denouncing the embargo, three against (U.S., Marshall Islands, and Israel), and three abstentions (Latvia, Micronesia, and Nicaragua). Individual member states have also spoken out against U.S. policy towards Cuba. Throughout the 1990s, with the stiffening of the terms of the U.S. embargo on Cuba, member states from the European Union (EU) and Latin America repeatedly denounced U.S. sanctions against Cuba (while also criticizing Cuba for its human rights record). In 1992, after the Congress approved legislation to tighten the embargo, the European Union criticized the U.S. action. Speaking on behalf of the EU, the UN representative from the United Kingdom said, “Although the European Community and its member states are fully supportive of the peaceful transition to democracy in Cuba, they cannot accept that the United States unilaterally determines and restricts European Community economic and commercial relations with any foreign nation which has not been collectively determined by the United Nations Security Council to be a threat to international peace and security.”[9-10]

It is important to understand the Cuban point of view as well. The political agenda behind the embargo are clear. The U.S. intention is to undermine the Cuban regime. It is an intervention into the ideological and political structure of Cuba and even the modest steps forward by Obama are viewed with suspicion.

Kornbluh (2016):
After decades of multi-form US intervention, el mismo perro is what some Cuban officials continue to see. “We are not stupid,” Cuba’s ambassador to Mexico, Dagoberto Rodriguez, declared in harsh terms during an interview with the leading Mexican magazine, Proceso. “We realize that the policy of the United States continues to have the same objective” of subverting the revolution. From the foreign ministry in Havana, Cuba’s chief negotiator with the United States, Josefina Vidal, issued a somewhat more diplomatic response. Obama’s directive was a “positive step” toward normalization, she said, but “does not hide the purpose of promoting changes in the political, economic and social order, nor hide the intentions to further develop interventionist programs.” Overt or covert, the Cuban government objects to the democracy-promotion programs, and Cuban officials believe Obama can do more to gut the embargo than he has.

The Embargo Has Failed

For many years now, experts have been claiming the U.S. embargo has failed to meet any of its objectives. Generally speaking, economic sanctions such as the kind imposed by the embargo, fail to turn oppressive regimes.

Griswold (2005):
Economic sanctions rarely work. Trade and investment sanctions against Burma, Iran, and North Korea have failed to change the behavior of any of those oppressive regimes; sanctions have only deepened the deprivation of the very people we are trying to help. Our research at the Cato Institute confirms that trade and globalization till the soil for democracy. Nations open to trade are more likely to be democracies where human rights are respected. Trade and the development it creates give people tools of communication-cell phones, satellite TV, fax machines, the Internet-that tend to undermine oppressive authority. Trade not only increases the flow of goods and services but also of people and ideas. Development also creates a larger middle class that is usually the backbone of democracy.

Even if our opponents can claim, the embargo had some initial impacts on the Castro regime, the unilateral nature of the embargo, failed to close other paths of economic engagement for Cuba. Cuba merely turned to other sources for its needs.

Lincicome (2014):
The United States has pursued unilateral economic sanctions on the Cuban regime for upwards of five decades. During a Cold War, pre-World Trade Organization (WTO) period of immobile capital, these trade and travel restrictions very likely achieved significant U.S. foreign policy and national security gains. It is extremely difficult, however, to continue to make that case given today’s economic realities. The Cuban regime trades with almost everyone (China, Canada, Europe, and Brazil are among its top export partners, to the total of about $20 billion per year); Cuban exports have recovered to pre-Cold War levels; Cuba has access to internationally-traded, fully-convertible currencies like Euros, Canadian Dollars, and Yen; Cuba is a full member of the WTO (unlike Iran, North Korea, and others); and it even conducts hundreds of millions of dollars of annual trade with the United States—yes, the United States— every year. To argue that the embargo somehow isolates the Cuban regime from anyone other than American travelers, exporters, and consumers simply defies reality.

Admittedly, the U.S. economy is the largest in the world and favorable economic trade status with the U.S. could be very beneficial. However, in the case of Cuba, it can be argued the embargo, while having no political effect whatsoever, only served to benefit the economies of Cuba's many other trading partners.

Lincicome (2014):
In the case of Cuban embargo, however, the federal government has failed to meet its basic burden of proof. First, legislation codifying the embargo—i.e., the “Helms-Burton” Act of 1996—has not achieved either of its two primary objectives: regime change and foreign investment deterrence. The first failed objective is manifest: the Castros remain in power and the Cuban government continues to pursue its particularly-thuggish form of authoritarian communism. The second failed objective is almost as obvious: according to a running tally by the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, approximately 4,500 companies from over 100 countries import to, export from, provide services to, or have investments within Cuba.

As for the political objectives inherent in the U.S. goal of spreading democracy and capitalism throughout the world, especially the western hemisphere, we can only look to the embargo as an ineffective means of achieving such ends.

Griswold (2005):
If the goal of U.S. policy toward Cuba is to help its people achieve freedom and a better life, the economic embargo has completely failed. Its economic effect is to make the people of Cuba worse off by depriving them of lower-cost food and other goods that could be bought from the United States. It means less independence for Cuban workers and entrepreneurs, who could be earning dollars from American tourists and fueling private-sector growth. Meanwhile, Castro and his ruling elite enjoy a comfortable, insulated lifestyle by extracting any meager surplus produced by their captive subjects.

In many cases, and it is not difficult to find the evidence, when economic sanctions are used against authoritarian governments, the regime benefits through a 'rally-around-the-flag' type of backlash. The Cuban regime was able to project the idea the U.S. was a hostile actor seeking to destroy the economy of Cuba and harming the people of the island. Such propaganda generates support for the regime as citizens rally to defend the homeland.

Cuba Study Group (2013):
Although U.S. sanctions had an early devastating impact on the then-chaotic Cuban economy, the political benefits they have since provided to the Cuban political leadership have far outweighed their economic costs. For the nearly 30 years that Cuba survived as a closed economy that was mostly dependent on the Soviet bloc, economic sanctions were largely innocuous. The resulting U.S. hostility facilitated the consolidation of the revolutionary process by providing the Cuban state with a convenient scapegoat for the failures of its economic policies, the hardships endured by the Cuban people and the repressive practices employed. It bestowed the Cuban state with the added legitimacy derived from being a “state under siege.”[3]

Harms To The U.S.

Trade is a mechanism for exchanging not only goods but ideas by exposing the partners to a diversity of cultures and ideologies and so it can be argued that both the U.S. and Cuba have been harmed. In more real economic terms the U.S. lost money by imposition of its own policies, designed to put more trading pressure on Cuba.

Rosenblum (2002):
Ultimately, the U.S. embargo on Cuba increases the shipping costs of critical food and medical products. The Cuban Democracy Act of 1992 established that vessels that have docked at Cuban ports within 180 days (or six months) are prohibited from docking at U.S. ports. This stipulation strongly dissuades foreign companies from exporting products to Cuba, as the United States is a logical stopping point for a ship due to its proximity to the island. It also delays the arrival of foodstuffs and medicine, while increasing their price. A 1997 AAWH report calculated that, “if goods could be sent to Cuba from the United States, Cuba would save $215,800 for each ship replacing a European freighter and $516,700 for each ship replacing an Asian freighter.” Saving $200,000-$500,000 per shipment would likely alleviate some of Cuba’s economic problems and improve its access to food and medical products.[15-16]

Obviously Cuba continued to trade with other nations despite the 1992 Act barring freighters, except those ships were no longing coming to U.S. and so it was the U.S. that lost economic benefits. Shortly after this law was enacted, experts were already pointing out the economic impacts to the United States.

Wong (1994):
The harm that section 1706(a) inflicts upon U.S. businesses is real and considerable. Carrier Co. estimates that it will lose between $10 and $20 million because its foreign subsidiaries can no longer trade with Cuba." At least 103 U.S. companies whose foreign subsidiaries have been trading with Cuba since 1985 will be similarly affected." According to Donna Rich Kaplowitz, one of the authors of the Johns Hopkins University study and a consultant on the Cuban market, "there's no question [that] the U.S. is losing business to Europe, Canada, and South America. .... The best beaches are being divided by Canada, Spain, and Italy."" Already, it may be too late for the United States to find a foothold in the Cuban market. In telecommunications, for example, Italcable recently entered into a $65 million joint venture to service Cuba's overseas calls, pushing AT&T out of the market."[679]

When Communist governments around the world began collapsing the U.S. Congress passed the Helms-Burton Act which was aimed toward putting one more nail in the coffin of Communism. Helms-Burton co-sponsor, Jesse Helms, famously declared the law, “tightened the noose around the neck of the last dictator in the Western Hemisphere, Fidel Castro." However, Helms-Burton effectively weakened the power of U.S. President.

Cuban Study Group (2013):
Helms-Burton also transferred the authority to suspend the Cuban embargo to the U.S. Congress, thereby severely hindering the President’s ability to exercise his constitutional power to conduct foreign policy. Instead, the Act allows the Executive Branch limited licensing authority to implement its foreign policy, which U.S. Presidents have since used to either expand or limit private engagement with the Island.[4]

Since passage, every President has worked with Congress to modify for better or worse, the various provisions in trade policy within the constraints of the Helms-Burton Act. Even, with the advancement of improved relations with Cuba under Obama, Helms-Burton severely impacted the President's power to go further toward normalizing relations.

Francis (2016):
Obama can’t do much more unless Congress acts to repeal the 1996 Helms-Burton Act, which formalized the embargo put in place by President John F. Kennedy in 1962 and bars the executive branch from lifting it without congressional approval. In other words, without the help of Congress, Obama can’t fully lift all financial penalties against Havana, and proponents of the move have acknowledged that is unlikely to happen while Republicans control both the House and the Senate.

So it seems our efforts to undermine the Cuban government have only resulted in the diminishing of U.S. executive power and the ability of a moderate, administration to put an end to U.S. hostility toward Cuba. As of this writing, nothing has changed in Cuba. It is still is non-democratic and it still holds political prisoners. Moreover, it is unclear what policies will be enacted under the Trump Administration functioning under a Republican majority Congress which historically, has not favored normalization of relations with Cuba.

Human Rights

Perhaps the reasons for continuing the embargo are complex and nuanced but most other nations, especially those which have repeatedly called for the U.S. to lift its embargo, see it a weapon aimed at Cuba to force regime change.  In response, the U.S. has tried to repaint the embargo as a humanitarian action aimed toward ending human rights abuses in Cuba.

Rosenblum (2002):
The embargo has also failed to promote human rights and democracy in Cuba. After forty years, the embargo has had no visible effect in encouraging the Cuban government to permit multi-party elections, or broaden freedom of speech and assembly, or to release political prisoners. In fact, it is during the times when the United States puts the most pressure on the Cuban regime (for example, after the passage of the Cuban Democracy Act in 1992 and the Helms-Burton Act in 1996) that the human rights situation in Cuba deteriorates. External threats have caused the Cuban government to crack down on any perceived threats within the system rather than to open avenues of public criticism. If the United States is serious about promoting human rights and democracy in Cuba, then it needs to look for a new approach.[20-21]

The embargo has had the effect of isolating the U.S. from Cuba and greatly diminished our ability to influence Cuban policy. For example, the U.S. has made attempts to directly ease the human rights situation in Cuba by collaborating with dissidents but such efforts further undermine the human rights.

Rosenblum (2002):
Currently, the United States is in no position to encourage improved human rights conditions in Cuba or to support the institutionalization of democracy. The efforts the U.S. government makes to support dissidents, or to strengthen civil society, are mostly counterproductive. (In fact, as noted elsewhere in this report, U.S. support and funding for dissidents has made them more vulnerable to the charge that they are U.S. agents. Those who hope for change in Cuban society but do not see themselves as dissidents, or in open opposition to the government, neither seek nor accept U.S. support.) U.S. influence on the Cuban government for positive change is basically non-existent.[31]

It can be argued the U.S. is perpetrating a significant abuse upon the people of Cuba by continuing to enforce the embargo.

Ernest (2016):
However, even with a strong, proactive healthcare system, Cuba still faces a number of health problems rarely seen in developed countries owing to a lack of access to food, medicine and equipment. In the documentary ¡Salud!, one Cuban doctor tells a story about the x-ray machine in her office, which is over 40 years old and which the doctors sometimes have to tie with wire to make it work. Another doctor talks about having to go through third party countries to buy a specific medicine (Prostaglandin E1) only made in U.S. labs, which is used in surgery for children with congenital heart defects and which at one point was so hard to get in Cuba that there was only one ampule in the whole country. Many of these healthcare problems developed or became more pronounced in the 1990’s, owing to a combination of the Soviet Union’s collapse and the passing of the Torricelli Act and the Helms-Burton Act in the United States. During the first three decades of the embargo, life expectancy in Cuba grew about 0.54% per year, for total growth of 15.5% from 1960 to 1989. In addition to general support for their economy, the Soviet Union was providing Cuba with a large portion of their raw materials for medicine. When this support was lost, Cuban access to medicine and healthcare declined. From 1990 to 2013, life expectancy grew only about 6%, or 0.26% per year. Additionally, adult caloric intake decreased by 40% and the percentage of underweight newborns increased 23% after the loss of Soviet aid (Drain & Barry). The Torricelli Act also drastically reduced access to medicine in 1992 by preventing U.S. subsidiaries from selling medicine to Cuba. Cuba had previously imported $719 million worth of goods from U.S. subsidiaries annually, 90% of which was food and medicine. After 1992, this number fell to $0.3 million total over a period of three years (Drain & Barry). Then in 1996, the Helms-Burton Act again reduced the number of companies supplying medicine or raw materials used in pharmaceutical production to Cuba. Throughout the decade, numerous healthcare crises resulted. In 1994, an epidemic of optic and peripheral neuropathy began which was later attributed to food shortages and malnutrition, and an increase in diarrheal diseases and an outbreak of Guillain-BarrĂ© Syndrome were associated with contaminated water due chemical shortages. Medicine shortages were associated with a 48% increase in tuberculosis deaths from 1992 to 1993 (Drain & Barry).[27-28]

It is clear from all sources, the use of the embargo as a means to promote democracy and prevent human rights abuses has been a complete failure. Continuation of the embargo with that purpose is no longer justified.

Exporting Terror

In 1982, Cuba was named a state sponsor of terror. This designation was applied at the time because of Cuba's collaboration with FARC and other groups in Colombia and because some Basque separatists had taken refuge on the island. Often, since that time, proponents of the embargo have continued to use the terrorism claims as justification of continuing or strengthening the sanctions against Cuba.

Rosenblum (2002):
While Cuba has been on the U.S. State Department’s list of terrorist nations since 1982, it has remained on this list due to domestic political considerations rather than actual national security concerns. It would be politically difficult for the President to remove Cuba from the terrorist list because the vocal and politically influential Cuban-American hard-liners would fiercely oppose such a measure.
A year 2000 State Department report entitled, “Patterns of Global Terrorism” did not report any terrorist acts sponsored by Cuba itself. Instead, it reported that: “Cuba continued to provide safe haven to several terrorists and U.S. fugitives in the year 2000.” Specifically, the report mentioned that Cuba harbors Basque separatists; has maintained ties with Colombian guerilla forces; and allowed a number of U.S. fugitives to live within its borders.[23]

Finally, Obama has officially removed Cuba from the list of states sponsoring terrorism which removes one more plank from the platform justifying continuation of the embargo.

Restoration of Benefits

As means of justifying the Pro position we can look to the benefits. Admittedly, the U.S. economy is enormous in comparison to Cuba and no doubt Con will argue the economic benefits will be minimal. But in the world of debate, it is good to remember, one may gain advantages by turning disadvantages.  Lifting the embargo has direct benefits.

Scull (2016);
Removing the embargo will be good for U.S. economy. It is estimated that the embargo costs the U.S. upwards of $4.8 billion in annual lost export sales and other economic outputs. A March 2010 study by Texas A & M University calculated that removing the embargo could create some 6,000 jobs in agricultural exports and travel to Cuba. In fact in a letter to congress by nine U.S. governors it was stated: “Foreign competitors such as Canada, Brazil and the European Union are increasingly taking market share from U.S. industry [in Cuba], as these countries do not face the same restrictions on financing… Ending the embargo will create jobs here at home, especially in rural America, and will create new opportunities for U.S. agriculture.”

And modest gains in the near term will lead to more significant gains in the long-term.

Mylotrade (2016):
Significant opportunities exist for U.S. exporters in Cuba, with the normalization of relations between the U.S. and Cuba now underway, potential reforms could help support U.S. competitiveness, increase total U.S. agricultural export value, improve U.S. market share, and benefit both U.S. exporters and Cuban consumers. Demand for high quality U.S. agricultural products is driven not only by the increasingly middle class Cuban population of 11 million, but also by remittances and tourism, which is expected to rise dramatically.
According to a report on Cuba imports and the effects of U.S. restrictions on U.S. exports to Cuba by U.S. International Trade Commission, overall U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba could see significant gains from the removal of U.S. restrictions on trade. Some sectors may see immediate expansion, while others would more likely experience additional sales after Cuban tourism, incomes, and foreign capital have grown. For manufactured goods, exports would likely increase somewhat after the removal of U.S. restrictions, with prospects for larger increases in the longer term, subject to changes in Cuban policy and economic growth.

And the claims of economic and employment benefits are supported by a host of other authors.

Rosson (2015):
Many U.S. competitors in the Cuban market offer some type of credit terms to ALIMORT for food purchases. U.S. firms are precluded from doing so and also face an added constraint of being required to offer only cash-in-advance sales, or cash against documents. U.S. exporters cannot use letters of credit to facilitate sales and manage risk, raising the cost of U.S. products and making them less competitive relative to Spain, Canada, Brazil, China and Vietnam. Reducing the cost and time necessary to process payment for U.S. exports to Cuba would have positive economic impacts in terms of increased exports and economic activity. U.S. exports to Cuba would be expected to rise by $271.2 million/year, requiring an additional $561.9 million in business activity for a total economic impact of $833.1 million and supporting 4,478 new jobs (Rosson, Adcock and Manthei). In summary, consistent, transparent and facilitative policies related to export finance for U.S. exports to Cuba would have positive economic impacts on U.S. exports and the U.S. economy.[6]

And to further the idea that advantages can be realized by turning a disadvantage, we look to Teegan, et al.

Teegan, et al (2013):
Even though the overall economic impact of sanctions on the United States has been minimal, we feel they have exacted great costs in terms of lost and foreclosed international business opportunities. They also have compromised U.S. global leadership on trade and social policy issues and caused potentially irreparable damage for humanity in key areas such as advances in biotechnology and avoidance of environmental degradation.[3-4]

As we have shown in the Pro position, the embargo has not only harmed Cuba but it has harmed the U.S. Perhaps greater than all the harms we have realized due to lost business, and higher-priced imports of some products, is the negative perception we have forced upon ourselves. We have been viewed as a bully nation and have harmed our reputation as the protector of global free-trade. It is past time to end this embargo.


In this Pro position, we have exposed how the Cuban embargo has perpetrated hardships not only on the people of Cuba, but has done damage to the U.S. economically (loss of trade), politically (loss of executive power) and diplomatically (loss of reputation and influence). Most importantly, after more than fifty years of continued hostility toward our neighbor to the south, the Cuban regime remains entrenched.

Scull (2016):
Has Cuba met the conditions required by the various congressional statutes to lift the embargo?
This is an important question since the 1992 Cuban Democracy Act, and the 1996 Helms-Burton specify conditions for terminating the embargo stipulating that Cuba must legalize all political activity, release all political prisoners, commit to free and fair elections, grant freedom to the press, respect and recognize human rights, and allow labor unions.
This is a very tall order, which obviously the Cuban government is nowhere near attaining. The problem with these conditions is that the U.S. does not hold other countries to the same ideals. China is the first one to come to mind. Obviously the importance of trading with the Middle Kingdom, which is highly profitable to American corporations, trumps its abysmal record on human rights, lack of elections, lack of freedom of the press, political oppression, political prisoners, lack of labor unions, and other absences of democratic values.
Of course China is not the only totalitarian country with which we do business. There are many more. Zimbabwe, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Brunei, Bahrain, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Russia, Saudi Arabia plus another forty-odd others.
It is obvious that these conditions as they apply to Cuba are disingenuous at best.

So, if we lift the embargo, how do we turn this into an opportunity to improve life in Cuba in a meaningful and lasting way? Betancourt suggests a quid-pro-quo; a give and take to our mutual benefit.

Betancourt (2014):
One possible path for a lifting of the embargo by the U.S. based on all these considerations might be as follows: (1) unilaterally eliminate the trade embargo on goods and services and claim it as a strong act of goodwill that should warrant reciprocity from Cuba; (2) propose eliminating the remaining travel restrictions on Americans of non-Cuban origin, in exchange for specific agreements on future dispute resolution mechanisms with respect to individuals that run afoul of the laws in both places; (3) put the lifting of restrictions on capital flows with respect to IFIs, FDI and credit on the table in exchange for the attainment of specific verifiable goals on progress with respect to human rights, possibly including the property rights associated with compensation or perhaps putting the latter in a separate category; and (4) treat debt repayment issues on the same basis as they are for any other country in the region.[19-20]

For all these reasons and more, we urge a Pro ballot.

For more information on this topic or other information related to Public Forum debate, click the Public Forum tab at the top of this page.


Betancourt, R. (2014). Should the U.S. lift the Cuban embargo? Yes; it already has; and it depends!. Cuba in Transition, vol. 23, Miami: ASCE. Accessed 1/10/2017 at:

Cuba Study Group (2013), Restoring Executive Authority Over U.S. Policy Toward Cuba, Cuban Study Group, February 2013. Accessed 1/10/2017 at:

Ernest, E. D.(2016). Cuban Trade Relations Under the U.S. Embargo and their Impact on Human Development. (Master's thesis). Accessed 1/10/2017 at:

Francis, D (2016), Obama’s Cuba Reset Is Now in the Hands of Congress. Too Bad It Won’t Budge, Foreign Policy, Mar. 21, 2016. Accessed 1/10/2017 at:

Griswold, D (2005), Four Decades of Failure: The U.S. Embargo against Cuba, CATO Institute, October 12, 2005. Accessed 1/1/2017 at:

Kornbluh, P (2016), ? Normalization of Relations With Cuba Is All But Irreversible Now, The Nation, October 19, 2016. Accessed 1/12/2017 at:

Lincicome, S (2014), Yes, Of Course We Should Lift The Cuban Embargo, The Federealist, December 23, 2014. Accessed 1/10/2017 at:

Lopez-Levy, A 92016), Cuba-U.S. relations in Trump's era: Reserved forecast, On Cuba Magazine, 18 Dec, 2016: accessed 1/20/2017 at:

Mylotrade (2016), Lifting the U.S. Trade Embargo on Cuba, Mylo Trade, 29 Sept 2016. accessed 1/10/2017 at:

Rosenblum, L (2002), A Time for Change: Rethinking U.S.-Cuba Policy, Washington Office on Latin America, May 2002. Accessed 1/10/2017 at:

Rosson, CP (2015), Hearing on Opportunities and Challenges in Agriculture Trade with Cuba, Testimony before the Senate of the united States, Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, April 21, 2015. Accessed 1/10/2017 at:

Scull, JC (2016), Should the embargo on Cuba be lifted, Medium, May 11, 2016. Accessed 1/10/2017 at:

Teegan, H. Askari, H. Forre, J. Yang, J. Economic and Strategic Impacts of U.S. Economic Sanctions on Cuba, The center For Latin American Issues, George Washington University. Presented July 6, 2003. Accessed 1/10/2017 at:

Wong, KS (1994), The Cuban Demicracy Act of 1992: The Extraterritorial Scope of Section 1706(a), University of Pennslyvania Journal of International Business Law, Vol.14:4, 1994. Accessed 1/10/2017 at:'lBus.L.651(1993).pdf


  1. Isn't human rights a con contention???

    1. no its pro cuz it is

    2. It could be it you could prove the embargo benefits human rights.

    3. How does it benefit!?????

  2. Because according to embargo enables the United States to apply pressure on the Cuban government to improve human rights. Several international organizations have written about the long history of human rights abuses and repression in Cuba. At least 4,123 people were detained for political reasons in 2011, and an estimated 6,602 political detentions occurred in 2012. [7] [86] The Congressional Research Service reported that there are an estimated 65,000 to 70,000 prisoners incarcerated in Cuba as of May 2012 (although the Cuban government reports 57,337 prisoners) - among the highest in the world on a per capita basis. [7] [4] The freedom of expression and right to assemble are severely restricted by the government. The 1996 Helms-Burton Act stated that the United States has a "moral obligation" to promote human rights in keeping with the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the embargo is a bargaining tool. I agree with you that this is a pro point, but when I was mock debating my opponent's framework was about human rights being better because of the embargo so...


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