The Cuban Embargo Myth

Currently the U.S. "blockades" or “embargoes” Cuba, right?  Of course. We read and hear about this embargo in every MSM mention of Cuba, most recently from an Obama spokesperson as interpreted by the New York Times:

The Obama administration is planning to expand opportunities for Americans to travel to Cuba, the latest step aimed at encouraging more contact between people in both countries … while leaving intact the decades-old embargo against the island’s Communist government.

Congressional Black Caucus member and frequent Cuba visitor Barbara Lee also chimed in recently: "[W]e can move forward with lifting the travel ban and ending the embargo with Cuba.”

Webster's defines "embargo" as "a government order imposing a trade barrier." As a verb it's defined as "to prevent commerce."

But according to figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. transacted $710 million worth of business with Cuba in 2008, and has transacted more than $2 billion worth of business with Cuba in the last decade. Currently the U.S. is Cuba's biggest food supplier and 5th biggest import partner. Furthermore, the U.S. has been Cuba's biggest donor of humanitarian aid including medicine and medical supplies for decades. All this together with the almost $2 billion a year in remittances sent from the U.S. ranks our nation right between Red China and Hugo’s Venezuela as a Castro business partner.

The term “travel ban” (against Cuba) seems pretty self-explanatory, right?

But last year Cuba received 200,000 visitors from the U.S. -- legally. Global Travel Industry News reports that another 200,000 Americans visited Castro’s fiefdom illegally.

And remember, during the 1950s Cuba was a "playground" for American tourists who inundated the island, right? Of course. We learned this from that famous documentary on Cuba, The Godfather.

But according to figures from Cuba's Banco Nacional, during the 1950s an average of 185,000 Americans visited Cuba annually.

Let’s step back for a second and consult our calculators:

During the 1950s, Cuba enjoyed its status as “tourist playground,” especially for Americans — 180,000 U.S. tourists and another 20 to 30 thousand from Canada and Europe.

Today, while suffering a crushing “U.S. blockade,” Cuba has 400,000 U.S. tourists along with 2.2 million Canadian and European tourists annually, while the U.S. serves as her second biggest trading partner, including remittances.

Loudly  chanted  within  the anti-embargo mantra of the Congressional Black Caucus, U.S. farm lobby, and Castro lobbyists is the notion that the embargo has “failed.” In fact, few U.S. foreign policy measures have been as phenomenally successful as our limited sanctions against the Stalinist robber-barons who run Castro’s regime.