One simple way to add a boost to the American economy: repeal the Cuban Embargo

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Tabula praeconii: Patria aut Mors. Vincemus

This is from the end of November and I noticed it discussed on a few sites here and there such as Shouldn't repealing an economic embargo against a largely harmless nation of ten million people right off the coast of Florida be a no-brainer? Some parts of the article referencing the report:
The report makes the pragmatic and humanitarian arguments that have been common talking points from anti-embargo thinkers for decades: There's no evidence of Cuba harboring terrorists, so why should they suffer the ignominy of being on the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism? The U.S. is already Cuba's fourth-largest trade partner; why not expand? Lifting travel restrictions would promote mutual understanding with geographically close neighbors.
So how much of an economic benefit could lifting the embargo provide, and how much effort would it take to remove it?

There are those who argue that Cuba's population and economy are too small to make a difference on the massive U.S. economy. However, the Obama Administration wouldn't need much of a cost-benefit analysis on this topic, because there's virtually zero cost. As most of the proposals to prop up our economy require intense monetary investment, it's only prudent to look at an idea that would require nothing more costly (on the federal end, at least) than the signature of the President.

And the potential profits aren't necessarily minuscule. One report, produced by agricultural experts at Texas A&M for the Cuba Policy Institute in 2003, estimates that by merely lifting the travel ban the U.S. could bring anywhere from $126 to $252 million in new agricultural exports to Cuba and create nearly 7,000 new jobs. When one imagines the difference lifting that same ban could mean for the airline industry, it's a no-brainer.

The article also addresses something I've been wondering about since I noticed the news that oil deposits off the coast of Cuba might actually be twice the amount originally thought:

The recent discovery of significant oil deposits off Cuba's shores may be another incentive for freer trade. According to the Brookings report, Cuba has already made deals with oil companies based in Canada, Spain, India and other countries to explore drilling off the island's shores.

So, why not? Is the Cuban-American lobby still so powerful even in these difficult economic times and without Fidel Castro directly running the country anymore?

Edit: looks like support for the embargo is way down.

The poll, conducted by Florida International University's Institute for Public Opinion Research and funded by the Brookings Institution and the Cuba Study Group, indicates that 55 percent of those polled favor discontinuing the trade embargo imposed in 1962. Sixty-five percent favor reestablishing diplomatic relations with Cuba.

''The poll has an extraordinary historical importance,'' said Guarione Díaz, president of the Cuban American National Council, a nonpartisan advocacy group in Miami.

The results, particularly as they relate to the embargo, reflect ''the fact that the Cuban Americans who were born in the United States or left after 1980 do not have the same vision as those who came in the 60s,'' Díaz said.


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