Our government embargo on trade with Cuba is now 50 years old. The travel ban is almost as old. What did we accomplish? Nothing good.
Communism collapsed in countries where we had trade relations, because Communism doesn’t work. There’s no evidence that sanctions speed the process. In Cuba, our restrictions may have helped Castro and his cronies by giving them an excuse for failure.
Cato’s Ian Vasqez says now is the time to lift the embargo:
It would be better for Cubans and the world to see the unraveling of Cuban communism without U.S. intervention. When a free Cuba is eventually born, it will more easily flourish if enemies of the open society cannot rely on a false narrative about how the colossus of the North finally killed off the island’s socialist experiment.
A good way to start would be by lifting the travel portion of the embargo. That measure would expose ordinary Cubans to hundreds of thousands of American citizens, thus inevitably expanding Cuba’s informal economy and establishing innumerable relationships that would make Cuban citizens more independent of the state. The regime may try to reap the benefits of increased revenues, but it will have unleashed a social dynamic that will be difficult to control.