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Cuba Denuclearized in 1962 — Why Continue the Embargo?

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In a time in which President Trump is saying that the U.S. government will lift economic sanctions against North Korea if it “denuclearizes,” why not lift the decades-old U.S. economic embargo against Cuba? After all, Cuba “denuclearized” back in 1962. Why is the U.S. government still punishing the people of Cuba with its brutal economic embargo?

In fact, the continued existence of the Cuban embargo might well cause North Korea to ask: If we really do denuclearize, how can we be assured that U.S. officials will really lift their sanctions on North Korea given the continuation of their brutal embargo against Cuba after it denuclearized more than 50 years ago?

What is the point of continuing the embargo against Cuba? What is the point of continuing to target the Cuban people with economic misery and impoverishment, on top of the misery and impoverishment they already suffer from living in a socialist economic system?

The goal of the Cuba embargo has always been regime change. Ever since Cuban revolutionaries ousted the brutal and corrupt pro-U.S dictator Fulgencio Batista from power in 1959, the CIA and the Pentagon have been hell-bent on doing whatever was necessary to oust the communist regime in Cuba from power and replace it with another pro-U.S. dictatorship.

That was the purpose of the CIA’s paramilitary invasion at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba. That was why the Pentagon was constantly exhorting President Kennedy to attack and invade Cuba. That was the goal of the terrorism and sabotage that the CIA inflicted inside Cuba. That was the aim of Operation Northwoods, the Pentagon’s false-flag operation that the Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously recommended to Kennedy. And that has been the purpose of the brutal economic embargo on Cuba.

That was why Cuba invited the Soviet Union to install nuclear weapons in Cuba in 1962 — to deter the Pentagon and the CIA from invading the island or, if an invasion did take place, to be able to defend themselves with nuclear missiles. That is the same reason that North Korea has acquired nuclear weapons — to deter the Pentagon and the CIA from attacking and invading North Korea for the purpose of regime change.

Why not just leave Cuba alone? So what if it has a communist regime, just like North Korea does and just like China does? Why does that justify the continued infliction of economic harm on the Cuban people? What business does the U.S. government have in continuing to try to achieve regime change in Cuba? After all, U.S. officials don’t have an embargo against Vietnam, whose communist regime killed some 58,000 American men in the Vietnam War. Why is there an embargo against Cuba, whose regime has never attacked and invaded the United States or even threatened to do so?

Through the more than 50 years of the U.S. embargo against Cuba, many American have missed a critically important point: The embargo has been not only an attack on the economic well-being of the Cuban people but also on the freedom of the American people. Keep in mind, after all, that when Americans travel to Cuba and spend money there, they are prosecuted, fined, and incarcerated by their own government, not by thy Cuban government.

Thus, the perverse irony is that in the name of fighting communism with their economic embargo against Cuba, U.S. officials have been prosecuting, fining, and incarcerating Americans for exercising such fundamental, God-given rights as freedom of travel, economic liberty, private property, and freedom of trade. Why should Americans (and anyone else) be punished tor traveling to wherever they want and spending their own money anywhere and any way they want?

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.
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