Trade Between The United States And Cuba

For the past few decades the Unites States has maintained one of the world’s longest standing trade embargoes against the small Caribbean island of Cuba. Harsher than a mere quota restriction, this meant that all goods from the most innocuous bit of fruit to the island’s most famous export, cigars, were not allowed on American soil. American citizens were also discouraged in various ways from visiting the island. This situation has only recently been remedied but this essay seeks to delve into some of the reasons why it occurred in the first place, how it was maintained and the results of its amelioration.

America is generally considered a capitalist country. This means that market forces are allowed to determine how resources are allocated. At one point in time the spread of an opposing economic system was a very real threat. Communism leaves the allocation of resources up to the state with the intention of distributing them equitably throughout the population. This system was championed by the Soviet Union, China and Cuba. Neither system was perfect. Capitalism tended to result in growing inequality and the creation of wealthy ‘dynasties’ while state led decision making rarely took into account the needs of the citizens so often what was provided was not in any way what was needed.

The Soviets and the Americans fought their wars fairly openly but between America and Cuba there was often subterfuge. The Cuban leader, Fidel Castro was the target of several assassination attempts that were later proven to come from the American governments of the time. While some citizen praised him for his socialist policies, others longed for a life they could only experience elsewhere. They became refugees and made their way to Florida to set up new communities that voice complaints about the situation on the island.

The lack of American trade led to Cuba developing very differently from most of its neighbors. With less access to American consumerism the focus on recycling was very important. The streets of the country are teeming with functioning older model cars which add to its charm. Now that trade sanctions have been lessened, it may become the top tourist destination in the region.

While Cuba and America may continue to have differences of opinion on how a country should be run, they both benefit by this opening of trade. In time they may become allies.

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