D. Cuban Economic Relations

8 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2015

Date Written: 2002


First looking at the history since the assent of Castro to power over forty years ago, people from all walks of life and from every comer of the world, depending on their political leanings, have described Cuba as paradise or perdition. Either a magnificently successful or a wholly failed experiment. Economists, lawyers, human rights activists, politicians, and sociologists alike, often using the same data, take sides to sing the praises or condemn the Cuban system. Castristas present evidence of triumphs in health, education, and welfare to establish that the Cuban profile rivals those of industrial states. They further cite constitutional mandates for race and sex equality often in the context of attainment, of educational attainment, and family support systems such as child care in the form of infantiles to show extreme social progress. Anti-Castristas, on the other hand, blame Castro and his rule for health epidemics, technological retrogression, and an oppressive totalitarian system, wholly lacking in human rights protections, including the right to vote, and a fair trial, or freedom of expression.

The forty-year-old embargo, prescribing the type of economic exchanges of interest in these two panels, is a subject of the same type of partisan evaluation as the economic, political, and social conditions of the island are. Indeed, some call the embargo a blockade, language that itself effectively and vividly recalls the rhetoric of the supposedly over cold war. Proponents of the embargo argue that it constitutes a perfectly legitimate exercise of sovereignty by the only surviving super power of the world and the now sole police of the world. Notwithstanding decades of failure, the embargo supporters suggest that if we hang on just a little longer, we will see the successful strangulation of the barely breathing economy and will be able to have a democratic form of government without el baburo. Conversely, the foes of the embargo, which in the last years have been increasing in numbers by great leaps and bounds, claim that the extraterritorial reach of the law violates international legal principles. Further, they point at the weakened Cuban economy and point fingers in blame at the embargo for the inability of the island to feed its hungry and treat its sick. Finally, the embargo is condemned as a cold water relic no longer appropriate to this global free market of ours in which capitalism has already triumphed over communism, and Cuba would see the error of its ways if only given the chance to taste that freedom. Interestingly, even the Cuban exile community, formerly a very cohesive force against trade, is now somewhat fractured with some suggesting that engagement and dialogue is the answer. Not surprisingly, even the history of the embargo gets distorted in this process. Who did what to whom first is a strangely contested terrain.

Keywords: Cuba, embargo, Castro, Castritas, anti-Castritas, economy, trade

Suggested Citation

Hernández-Truyol, Berta Esperanza, D. Cuban Economic Relations (2002). 15 Fla. J. Int'l L. 94 (2002); University of Florida Levin College of Law Research Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2687376

Berta Esperanza Hernández-Truyol (Contact Author)

University of Florida Levin College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 117625
Gainesville, FL 32611-7625
United States

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