On June 11, 2008, the Cuban News Agency published an article entitled “Cuba Demands U.S. End to Sanctions at WTO Forum” which discussed the effects of the U.S. trade embargo on the Cuban economy. COHA Research Associate Amy Coonradt wrote the following letter to the editor in response:
You are correct in your claim that the termination of the U.S.’s economic sanctions on Cuba would not only resolve America’s institutionalized violation of World Trade Organization guidelines (“Cuba Demands US to End Economic Sanctions at WTO Forum”, June 11). However, you fail to state the benefits that lifting the sanctions could have for both the U.S. and Cuba. Such an action would help U.S. exporters by opening up Cuban markets. It would also help solve Cuba’s endemic fuel and food shortages and let Cuban families receive more remittances from relatives living abroad, which currently is restricted by the embargo to $100 per month.
Ending the embargo would allow for real reform on Cuba’s part, much more so than the modest and largely symbolic measures taken by Raul Castro. True, he has lifted the ban on cell phones and allowed Cubans to visit tourist hotels, but these rights are still financially unattainable for most Cubans, who average only $18 per month in income. Lifting the U.S. embargo would surely have a more lasting and positive effect for the average Cuban than Raul’s otherwise token reforms. Better yet, it likely will benefit both the U.S. as well as Cuba.
Council on Hemispheric Affairs