United States embargo against Cuba

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The United States embargo against Cuba is a trade embargo by the Statesian imperialist government against Cuba. It is also commonly known as the blockade (Spanish: el bloqueo). It is not a single law, but a series of laws, presidential proclamations, and regulations that together enforce the embargo on Cuba internationally by punishing third parties for engaging with Cuba.[1][2] It has been characterized as a genocide due to its effect on the Cuban people. [3]

In a 1962 speech, Fidel Castro spoke regarding the anti-communist propaganda strategy that accompanies the economic measures taken against Cuba: "The imperialists try to deceive the peoples of America, and try to attribute the consequences of the blockade and economic aggression to the revolutionary measures. And they do not say that they have created problems for us with their attacks and their blockades, but rather that the problems are consequences of the revolutionary laws. And with that deception they try to confuse the peoples."[4]


Since 1960, the United States has placed various economic embargos on Cuba, Statesian companies are not allowed to trade with Cuba, this includes foreign companies which are partially owned by Statesian ones. The intention of such measures taken against Cuba are made apparent in a 1960 memorandum, in which U.S. officials wrote that creating "disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship" through denying money and supplies to Cuba would be a method they should pursue in order to "bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government" in Cuba.[5]

Among the various restrictions, the embargo includes banning ships that have docked in Cuban harbors from entering U.S. harbors for six months,[1] allowing U.S. entities to sue anyone who does business with Cuban enterprises that were previously U.S.-owned, and allowing the United States to fine European banks for accepting transactions from Cuba, resulting in fines of billions of dollars.[6] The many restrictions, punishments, and complicated regulations for engaging with Cuba serves to discourage trade, even in cases where some form of engagement may technically be allowed if the complex regulations are followed.


When Cuba nationalized U.S. and British oil companies for refusing to refine Soviet oil, U.S. president Eisenhower retaliated by cutting off Cuban sugar sales to the United States. Cuba then nationalized most U.S. businesses on the island, and Eisenhower banned all U.S. exports to Cuba except food and medicine. These sanctions were part of a U.S. broader strategy to overthrow Castro, including support for his internal opponents and preparations for an exile invasion.

After the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion, President John F. Kennedy used the authority of the Foreign Assistance Act to impose a complete embargo on all trade with Cuba. The following year, under the authority of the Trading with the Enemy Act, he extended the embargo to cover all financial transactions unless licensed by the Secretary of the Treasury. Kennedy’s sanctions, like Eisenhower’s, were part of a broader program aimed at regime change that included sabotage and paramilitary attacks launched from the United States.

President Lyndon Johnson’s policy of “economic denial” focused on making the embargo multilateral. The United States bribed and strong-armed members of the Organization of American States to join the embargo, cutting off diplomatic and economic relations with Cuba. Only Mexico refused. Europeans did not openly join the embargo, but quietly cooperated by cutting back trade with Cuba. Johnson also prohibited food sales to Cuba, which Kennedy had exempted from the embargo.

In the 1970s, U.S. President Jimmy Carter claimed an interest in normalizing relations with Cuba, and as a first step he lifted the ban on travel and authorized Cuban Americans to send remittances to family on the island. He also considered lifting the embargo on food and medicine, but decided against it because it would allow Cuba to resume sugar sales, giving a major boost to its economy. Later, when Cuba asked to buy several dozen medicines available only from U.S. suppliers, National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski convinced Carter to refuse because of Cuba’s military support for Angola and Ethiopia.

In the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan imposed new sanctions to punish Cuba for its support of revolutionary movements in Central America. He re-imposed the ban on travel for most U.S. residents, banned most Cubans from traveling to the United States, prohibited the import from third countries of any product containing Cuban nickel, and named Cuba to the State Department’s list of State Sponsors of International Terrorism, where it remained until 2015.

In the early 1990s, the United States pressured the Soviet Union to cut off economic aid to Cuba, worth some $3 billion annually, as a condition of U.S. aid to the Soviet Union. Mikhail Gorbachev refused, but the first president of the Russian Federation, Boris Yeltsin, agreed to the U.S. demand, sending Cuba into a decade-long depression known as the Special Period (Spanish: Período especial). After this, the U.S. Congress passed the Cuban Democracy Act (CDA), which was designed to tighten the embargo to finally bring about regime change. Presidential candidate Bill Clinton endorsed the CDA, and President George H. W. Bush signed it into law. The CDA cut off some $700 million in trade, mostly in food and medicine, and gave the president the authority to cut foreign aid to any country aiding Cuba.[2]

Cuban thaw

United Nations

All UN members voted against the embargo except the USA and Israel, which voted against, and Ukraine and Moldova, which did not vote.

The embargo has been condemned every year with a United Nations resolution, it is usually voted against by the United States and Israel.[7]

UN vote of 2022

The annual vote upon the determination of embargo of Cuba resulted in no qualitative change, quantitatively two countries have now refrained from participation, being Brazil and Ukraine.[8]

The US has given a report giving supposed reasoning for their unwavering enforcement of the embargo, this reasoning essentially boils down to an inconsistent protection of civil rights they stated that “their support for the Cuban people is unwavering”[9]. This may easily be dismantled as an inconsistent excuse for the violence they subject the Cuban peoples to.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Gloria La Riva. “The U.S. Agenda in Cuba Remains Counter-Revolution” Liberation School. January 6, 2015.
  2. 2.0 2.1 “Cuba Embargoed: U.S. Trade Sanctions Turn Sixty." National Security Archive. February 2, 2022. Archived 2022-10-29.
  3. azureScapegoat (01/04/2022). "The Cuban Embargo Explained". YouTube.
  4. “Los imperialistas tratan de engañar a los pueblos de América, y pretenden atribuir a las medidas revolucionarias las consecuencias del bloqueo y de la agresión económica. Y ellos no dicen que nos han creado problemas con sus agresiones y sus bloqueos, sino que los problemas son consecuencias de las leyes revolucionarias. Y con ese engaño tratan de confundir a los pueblos.”

    Fidel Castro (19/04/1962). "Discurso pronunciado en el acto homenaje a los mártires caídos en Playa Girón y conmemoración de la victoria contra la invasión mercenaria perpetrada hace un año por Playa Girón y Playa Larga, 19 de abril de 1962" Fidelcastro.cu. Archived from the original.
  5. "Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Mallory) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Rubottom)." Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958–1960, Cuba, Volume vi - Office of the Historian. State.gov. U.S. Department of State. Archived 2022-08-14.
  6. Elliott, Kenya. “The World Stands with Cuba against U.S. Economic War.” Liberation News. June 25, 2021. Archived 2021-10-23.
  7. "UN General Assembly calls for US to end Cuba embargo for 29th consecutive year" (2021-06-23). UN News.
  8. Ben Norton (Nov 05, 2022). "Entire world votes 185 to 2 against blockade of Cuba–U.S. and Israel are rogue states at UN" MROnline.
  9. https://usun.usmission.gov/explanation-of-vote-after-the-vote-on-a-un-general-assembly-resolution-on-the-cuba-embargo/