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Resolved: The United States should lift its embargo against Cuba (Bibliography and file)

December 29, 2016
Published in Newsletter

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Background

Cuba: Issues for the 114th Congress.  This extensive (98 page) report from the Congressional Research Service provides a comprehensive overview of Cuba’s history, US embargo policy, and movements toward normalization under the Obama administration. If you have time to read it, I strongly encourage you to do so. It’s a great overview of the key policy issues of the topic and will help with your understanding of everything else you read.

Cuba Sanctions: Legislative Restrictions Limiting the Normalization of Relations.  This report by the Congressional Research Service reviews the major pieces of legislation that constitute the embargo. It’s a useful read for an in-depth understanding, if you have time.

What Castro’s death and Trump’s election mean for Cuba’s economic awakening. This article argues Trump will attempt to negotiate with Cuba to free more political prisoners and compensate the US for confiscated property in exchange for lifting more of the embargo and/or not reversing Obama’s move toward normalization. It’s a good introductory read and a useful Pro article.

US abstains in UN vote condemning Cuba embargo. This article has a very brief discussion of US policy toward Cuba. It points out that only Congress can lift the embargo and that there is still support in Congress for the embargo.

Overview of Cuban Imports of Goods and Services and Effects of U.S. Restrictions. This is an official executive branch document current regulations related to economic interaction with Cuba. It is probably more than you need in terms of detail, but if you want to look at this recent (October 2016) original source document, it is here.

Fidel Castro’s Death: Implications for US Policy. This is a very short note from the non-partisan Congressional Research Service that discusses US policy in the context of Castro’s death. It is is a good quick read because it quickly summarizes US policy.

General

Cuba is poor, but who is to blame? Castro or 50 years of US blockade. The article contends that while the embargo undermined Cuba’s economy the government’s actions in health and anti-poverty spending has improved life expectancy and reduced infant mortality.

The impact of ending the US embargo on Cuba. This article explains that ending the embargo would increase trade between the US and Cuba in many sectors but that Cuba’s economy would essentially be managed by multinational corporations.

A new Cuba. This article doesn’t have a lot of useful debate evidence, but it is a good detailed, story-style overview of Obama’s outreach to Cuba.  If you have time, it is worth the read so that you understand what is going on in terms of the status quo relations. I did find one card at the end that discussed Cuban conservative resistance to improving relations.

Can Donald Trump and Raul Castro make a deal? The article argues that the recent improvements in relations between Cuba and the US have been good and that both sides should continue to make unilateral concessions.  It does not take a position on whether or not the embargo should be lifted

General — Agriculture Trade

US Agriculture trade with Cuba: Past, Present, and Possible Future. This article reviews that state of US agriculture trade with Cuba and what it might look like if the embargo is lifted.

U.S. Agricultural Trade with Cuba: Current Limitations and Future Prospects. This non-partisan Congressional Research Service report reviews the state of Cuba-US agriculture trade and the pros and cons of expanding the trade.

General — Property Rights

The future of Property Rights in Cuba.  After the revolution in 1960, most private property in Cuba was confiscated. This includes property owned by US nationals.  One issue related to lifting the embargo is attempting to get US parties compensated for the loss of property. This is a hearing on the question.

Resolving Issues with Confiscated Property in Cuba, Havana Club Rum and Other Property. This is a second hearing on the issue.

In talks over seized US property, Havana counters with own claim .  From the article:

Some of the thorniest conversations in the long road toward full relations between Cuba and the United States have only just begun in recent days: The two sides are sitting down for the first time to discuss the American properties Cuba confiscated decades ago. The very idea of compensation for property and businesses seized in the wake of the Cuban revolution sent a quiver of excitement down the backs of the thousands of people who lost everything from sugar mills to family homes to oil refineries. People started dusting off yellowing deeds. Lawyers were called. But what if Cuba approaches these historic talks with a rather different unsettled claim in mind? In 1999, a Cuban court found the United States government liable for deaths and damages caused by America’s “aggressive policies” against the island — namely, the Bay of Pigs invasion and the trade embargo prohibiting American citizens and companies from doing business in Cuba. [New York Times]

General – Terrorism/Security

Flying Blind: What are the security risks to resuming commercial air service to Cuba?  The purpose of this hearing is to evaluate the potential risks to national, homeland and passenger security related to the resumption of commercial air service to Cuba, understand the process by which the TSA, CBP and DHS certify these last points of departure airports, the timeline under which this process will occur and how aviation security and other security concerns informed the Cuba policy development.

Flying Blind: What are the security risks to resuming commercial air service to Cuba (Part II)?  This hearing will be a follow up to the Subcommittee’s previous hearing on Cuba, in order to get answers from DHS officials on Committee inquiries related to commercial air service between the United States and Cuba.

U.S. Air Marshalls Will Be Aboard Cuba Flights. This newspaper article discusses the issues related to commercial flights to and from Cuba.

Pro-Embargo – General

The case for the Cuba embargo.  It is hard to defend the Cuba embargo, so I included this article, but it makes the general case that we shouldn’t lift the embargo because Castro violated human rights and Raul continues to do so. The problem with finding much Con evidence in the article is that it doesn’t really say that continuing the embargo will do anything to advance human rights or improve the conditions of people living in Cuba. At best, it suggests that the US should condition engagement on improvements in human rights, which, as discussed in the essay is arguably a Con argument.

The Castro Regime’s Ongoing Violations of Civil and Political Rights.  “This hearing will examine the human rights situation in Cuba, where it seems disregard for civil and political rights has gotten worse, not better, since the President visited the Island.  The regime continues to jail and beat political dissidents, with even extrajudicial killings apparently sanctioned.  That we are holding it on July 13 is significant, as it is the anniversary of the tugboat massacre of 1994, when 37 victims, including 11 children, were killed by the regime.  The Obama Administration cannot allow concerns over its ‘legacy’ to muffle its voice when it should be insisting that the rights of the Cuban people be respected.”

Pro-Embargo — Need to Condition Lift

How Trump could bring real change to Cuba.  This article contends that human rights abuses have increased since Obama’s relaxing of the embargo and that Trump should condition the lift on the improvement in human rights.

Pro Embargo — Answers to Con Arguments

Most companies won’t be able to do business in Cuba for years. This article discusses the various barriers to foreign investment that would exist even if the embargo was lifted.

U.S. Exports of Agricultural, Manufactured Goods to Cuba Could Increase if U.S. Trade Restrictions Were Lifted, but Significant Cuban Barriers to Foreign Trade and Investment Would Remain.  The title is self-explanatory.

Cuba had a lung cancer vaccine for years, and now it’s coming to the US.  This article makes the point that Cuba has a strong health care system now.

Cuba’s road ahead.  This article argues Cuba’s economy can’t  grow unless it abandones its 2 currency system, which it may very well not do.

Anti-Embargo – General

Cuba’s Report to the UN on the embargo.  Authored by the Cuban government, this is a comprehensive report on why the embargo needs to be fully lifted and the negative impacts of the embargo. If you are going to read one Pro article, I’d read this one.

Cuba embargo: A 50+ year failed experiment. From the abstract: The purpose of this paper is to critically analyze the past and present reasons for the US embargo against Cuba and to call into question its ability to effectively promote economic and political reformation in the future. Unintended consequences of the embargo impose high health and economic costs on average Cubans, while leaving the Castro regime unscathed. Canada and European countries have had substantial success engaging in trade with Cuba, as is evidenced by the growth of the tourism industry and subsequent growth of the economy in recent years. Cuba’s economic growth made possible by its trade with these countries directly preceded improvements in the economic and political institutions in the country. This suggests that institutional reform in Cuba is a product of free trade rather than a prerequisite.

Trump is threatening to roll-back normalization. This article contends that any Cuba embargo roll-back will threaten the economies of the US and Cuba as well as hurt US relations with Latin America.

Should Donald Trump adopt Marc Rubio’s failed Cuba policy?  This article argues that the embargo is a complete failure and that it should be lifted

Eight myths about Obama’s opening to Cuba. This article answers common objections to normalizing relations with Cuba.

Why is the Cuba embargo still in place?. This article contends that the embargo impoverishes the Cubam people.

El-Bloque: The Cuba embargo continues. This article has a more comprehensive explanation as to why the embargo has impoverished the Cubam people.

Cuba’s slow-brewing economy and home-grown opportunity. This article argues the embargo needs to be liifted to produce the economic growth that is needed to sustain economic and social progress in Cuba.

What it looks like when we take Cuba policy seriously. This article contends that Obama’s moves toward enganging Cuba prove that engagement can produce reform and that the condtions some politicians argue Cuba must meet before

Stop punishing Cuba’s people: Lift the embargo This article contends that the embargo has failed to produce economic and pollitical liberalization in Cuba and that it has impoverished the Cuban people.

U.N. Report offers preview of next U.S. drubbing for Cuba embargo. This article, referencing a U.N. Secretary General report on Cuba, argues that Cuba cannot gain access to goods and services it needs to meet basic human needs because of the embargo.

Yes, of course we should lift the embargo  . This article argues the embargo has completely failed to achieve its objectives and that it is a violation of Americans’ right to freedom — freedom to travel and trade — with no justifiable security purpose.

End the embargo against Cuba. This post argues that conditioning the end to the embargo on market reforms and US access to the Cuban economy is a form of neoliberalism imperialism.  Instead, the author argues for an unconditional lift of the embargo.

It’s time to repeal the Hems-Burton Act. This article makes a general case for removing the embargo, arguing that it has impoverished the Cubam people without hurting the leaders at all.

New Presidential Action on Cuba: A Conversation with Susan Rice. This is a transcript of a speech that describes Obama’s outreach to Cuba but also makes a case for lifting the embargo.

Anti-embargo — Geopolitics

Cuba embargo myopia misses the strategic point. This article contends that the US should lift the embargo to boost its influence in Latin America and to counter the growing influence of China and Russia in the region.

Cuba embargo lets rest of Latin America warm to Washington. The article makes the same argument as the previous one.

Anti-Embargo—Health

US-Cuban relations could be big for pharmaceuticals.  The article makes the point that improved US-Cuba relations facilitates the pharmaceuticals trade, which benefits the health of US citizens.

The United States and Cuba: Turning enemies into partners for health. This editerial, written by Dr. William Keck, argues that the US should engage in cooperation with Cuba on health care

How our new relationship with Cuba will improve America’s health. This is an interview in the Huffington Post with Dr. Keck.  In the article he makes the point that lifting the embargo it important because the level of health cooperation curently permitted by the Obama administration is not sufficient for maximizing health care improvements.

Obama opens US to Cuba health care advances. This article generally aruges for health care colloboration but also notes that there are barriers other than the embargo.

Cuban doctors still go abroad, but it’s no longer drive by international solidarity

Anti-Embargo – Cuba Economy

Cuba says easing of embargo hasn’t helped economy. This very brief article says that easing of the embargo isn’t enough to help Cuba’s economy and that in order to benefit Cuba’s economy the embargo must be lifted.

Doing business in a post-Fidel Cuba. This article argues that there will not be more investment unless the embargo is lifted. Without investment, the economy will decline.

Let’s make a deal: Doing business in Cuba. This article argues that US businesses will not invest in Cuba despite the opportunity unless the embargo is completely lifted.

Can Cuba overcome prejudice against investment? This article contends that Cuban can’t grow until foreign investment increases.

Cuba turns to austerity and foreign investment to counter economic contraction.  The title explains the article.

Cuba seeks to reverse economic slide.  This article argues that Cuba needs more foreign investment to reduce its economic downturn.

Anti-Embargo – US Economy

Travel, trade embargo on Cuba hurts Alabama economy

Anti-Embargo – Environment

Cuba has an ambitious plan to protect its environment from tourists

Here’s why American tourism won’t ruin Cuba

Human Rights – General 

Human Rights Watch Cuba Report

Russia

What Obama’s historic visit to Cuba means for Russia

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