Argument: Sanctions against Cuba only hurt the Cuban public

Issue Report: Ending US sanctions on Cuba


  • Greg Reeson. “Time to Drop Sanctions Against Cuba”. American Chronicle. October 30, 2006 – “Historically, economic sanctions have done little to change the behavioral patterns of bad governments and ruthless dictators. Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times wrote in 2003 that ‘The United States imposed 85 new unilateral economic sanctions on foreign nations from 1996 to 2001. But sanctions, which cost U.S. companies up to $19 billion in 1995 alone, aren’t a policy; they’re a feel-good substitute for one.’
On most issues facing America today, I find myself on the opposite end of the political spectrum from Mr. Kristof. However, the question of economic sanctions provides a rare opportunity for us to agree on a policy matter. There have been very few instances where economic sanctions have hurt those in power. They almost always fail to achieve the policy aims of the nation imposing them and usually end up hurting the very people they are meant to help.”
  • Dan Griswold. “Four Decades of Failure: The U.S. Embargo against Cuba”. Cato Institute. October 12, 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.”