Want to create some more jobs in America? How about lifting the embargo and sanctions on Cuba that has been ongoing since 1960? Why is it that Canada gets to reap the benefit of doing business with Cuba to the tune of over 85 companies operating there right now while the U.S. is experiencing one of its worse unemployment rates since the Great Depression? Shouldn’t we be doing all we can to confront this issue? Canada gets it;
In 1994, a joint venture was formed between the Cuban Nickel Union and the Canadian firm Sherritt International, which operates a mining and processing plant on the island in Moa. A second enterprise, Cobalt Refinery Co. Inc., was created in Alberta for nickel refining. Canada has been critical of the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, and strongly objected to the Helms-Burton Act. In 1996 Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy stated: “Canada shares the U.S. objectives of improving human rights standards and moving to more representative government in Cuba. But we are concerned that the Helms-Burton Act takes the wrong approach. That is why we have been working with other countries to uphold the principles of international law”. In 1996 a Private Member’s Bill was introduced, but not made law, in the Canadian parliament; this law called theGodfrey-Milliken Bill was in response to the extraterritoriality of the aforementioned Act. Canada also protests U.S. preclearance customs agents in Canadian airports who try to catch American citizens travelling to Cuba in defiance of U.S. law.
Canada accounts for 21.6% of all Cuban exports second only to China’s 24.9%. Cuba’s chief exports are sugar, nickel, tobacco, fish, medical products, citrus, coffee and of course cigars. With regards to nickel imports into the U.S., we won’t be needing Cuba’s nickel though because we are reducing the need for it by making our coins of steel and cheaper metals. Hey, isn’t that what the Romans did just prior to the fall of the Roman Empire? Hmmm… Canada offers Cuba its advice on how to make their country better by building a Canadian Free Trade deep water port and helping with criminal and corruption issues.
Cuba is the third most popular overseas destination for Canadians (after the United States and Mexico). Canada is Cuba’s largest source of tourists, with over one million Canadians visiting in 2010, almost 40 per cent of all visitors to Cuba.
Just Say No To Cuba and Take Your Business Elsewhere America
There are no U.S. companies that are allowed to do business with Cuba or its citizens. Well, I take that back. There is one. The U.S. Navy as they have Camp Delta conducting operations there like a detention camp to interrogate captured enemy combatants. In fact, it gives the U.S. Navy the right to employ tactics that they couldn’t here in the U.S. This is the same detention camp that Obama said he would close “upon taking office” during his 2008 Presidential campaign. Buy hey…Obama also said he would bring all our troops home first thing in office too (I see a pattern here).
But there is one U.S. company I know of that skirts this embargo, Coca-cola. In fact, their are many companies that skirt the law through other countries selling their products in Cuba. But if you want to buy a Coke in Cuba? No problem. I mean how can you have a Cuba Libre without Coke, the “real thing?” You can buy a Coke in Cuba because it is manufactured in Mexico. So Mexico and their citizens get to benefit from the U.S. embargo, not U.S. additional employees of Coca-cola to handle the extra production here. And by the way, if you have ever been to Mexico and had a Coke, it tastes much better than the Coke made here in America, which means their Cuba Libre’s taste better. Lucky Cubans.
This is not to say that Cubans have it easy. This article is about job opportunities lost because of a foreign policy, or technically an economic policy of disagreement with the primarily Castro regime. But just think of what life would be like for the Cubans if they could sell their goods to the U.S. And just think of the jobs it would create here in the U.S. if we would stop this silly embargo. Shouldn’t we be doing all we can to create jobs during this economic recession and historically low unemployment rate rather than let other countries benefit from our ignorance? But this issue with Cuba started long ago.
Cuba/U.S. Relations History
This issue of tension with Cuba started long before the current embargo began. The U.S. first was given land as U.S. territory in 1903 as part of the U.S. Platt amendment as a precondition of Cuban independence. From 1903 to 1934 this was considered U.S. territory and Cubans were not allowed to enter. But Cuban nationalists weren’t happy with the U.S. presence and in 1934 Roosevelt decided to turn U.S. ownership of the territory into a 99 year lease. So we do know one thing from this. A U.S. sitting President will have to do something with those detention camp prisoners in 21 years.
Is it a coincidence that only three countries in the world still today boycott Cuba? The U.S., Israel and Palau. A UN vote in favor of the U.S. lifting the embargo was 187-3 with the aforementioned countries voting nay. What is it that 187 other nations around the world sees that the U.S. and Israel don’t?
While the U.S. is currently sanctioning Iran, along with many other countries including Israel, at least Castro isn’t like Iran’s President Ahmadinejad since Castro does claim Israel has a right to exist. So why does Israel care what Cuba does? Well, the answer is, they just don’t believe Castro. But what Israel says and does is a topic for another time. The U.S. is the coattail Israel rides and vica versa.
It was the Helms–Burton Act though that continued the sanctions and embargo of Cuba. Putting Senator Helms name on a bill that kept his North Carolina tobacco state from having any Cuban Cigar or cigarette competition is like putting Dodd or Frank’s name on a bill that will reform the banks and our financial system. All these bills do is help the connected companies improve their balance sheets while the little guy, the citizens of Cuba or the 31 million unemployed here in America, dreams of prosperity goes up in smoke. This is what Senators do and have done to us here and they have destroyed the name of Capitalism in the process.
So What Now?
We can continue to play this charade that sanctions can change a regime in Cuba or Iran like we may claim occurred with Burma recently (who can now get their Coke and become addicted to aspartame like the rest of us). In Burma, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said after the lifting of the embargo, “Today we say to American business: Invest in Burma. And do it responsibly. Be an agent of positive change.”
Why can’t we trade with our neighbors no matter what government or religion they are? Wouldn’t that be “positive change” today for all involved? Didn’t Obama promise change? At least then we won’t act so quickly to bomb those we trade with (think Iran) and we can get a few more Americans employed.
One way or another this embargo and the sanctions will end. It’s just a matter of time. The only ones complaining will be Canada and China who will now have U.S. company competition.