Argument: Sanctions damage the spread of democracy

Issue Report: Ending US sanctions on Cuba


  • Dan Griswold. “Four Decades of Failure: The U.S. Embargo against Cuba”. Cato Institute. October 12, 2005 – “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.
President Bush seems to understand this powerful connection between trade and democracy when he talks about China or the Middle East. In a speech on trade early in his first term, the president noted that trade was about more than raising incomes. ‘Trade creates the habits of freedom,’ the president said, and those habits begin ‘to create the expectations of democracy and demands for better democratic institutions. Societies that open to commerce across their borders are more open to democracy within their borders. And for those of us who care about values and believe in values–not just American values, but universal values that promote human dignity–trade is a good way to do that.'”