It is time for the United States to remove the embargo against Cuba. The embargo has failed to achieve all of its stated goals (the removal of Fidel Castro) and in spite of it, Cuba has achieved more success in its social programs than any other Latin American country. Here is a list of facts about Cuba that will surprise many and will help reveal how hypocritical U.S. foreign policy really is.
1. Cuba has a 99.7 percent literacy rate. This is the highest literacy rate in all of Latin America and it is due to Cuba’s very strong education system which gives every Cuban the opportunity to pursue an education up to the highest level.
2. Cuba has the most doctors in the world per capita. Cuba has 67 doctors per 10,000 people. For comparison, the United States has 24. Cuba’s health care system is ranked the strongest in Latin America by the World Health Organization. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has been receiving medical treatment in Cuba since he was diagnosed with cancer last year.
3. Cuba has sent more doctors to third world countries than all G-8 countries combined. Cuba’s medical humanitarianism has been one of the great achievements of the revolution. Cuba has over 30,000 medical workers working overseas. Cuba is often the first country to offer aid to foreign countries after major natural disasters. Cuba even offered to send 1,100 doctors to the U. S. after Hurricane Katrina but the Bush Administration declined the offer.
4. The Cuban embargo is condemned by almost the entire international community. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, many believed the embargo would be lifted, since there was no longer even the semblance of a Soviet threat from Cuba. However, the U.S. has been essentially the lone wolf in keeping up the embargo. The most recent United Nations General Assembly vote on whether to keep the embargo was 187-2 with the only countries voting to maintain it being the U.S. and Israel.
5. Most Americans are in favor of lifting the embargo. Recent Gallup polls have shown 51 percent of Americans support lifting the embargo while only 36 percent oppose it.
6. Cuba is on America’s list of state sponsors of terrorism. Cuba made this short list which now includes only Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria, yet nothing about Cuba’s foreign policy supports such an accusation.
By all accounts, the Cuban embargo makes no sense. The purpose of it was to push Fidel Castro out of power. This failed back in the 1960s and it even failed in the 1990s after Cuba’s economy was hit hard by the collapse of the Soviet Union. Fidel Castro is a very polarizing figure but one cannot deny that Cuba has made some great strides under the revolution even if liberty was sacrificed to accomplish these achievements.
U.S. policy towards Cuba is hypocritical and irrational considering the brutal dictatorships the U.S. has supported throughout the world and particularly in Latin America during the Cold War. Cuba is not a threat to the United States by any stretch of the imagination and its foreign policy is based mostly on humanitarianism and international solidarity, yet it is listed as a terrorist state.
Cuba is being punished because it has successfully defied US policy in Latin America and provided an example to other Latin American countries that independent development is possible. One only needs to study the history of the region and the long list of U.S.-sponsored coups that ousted other Latin American leaders to understand the nature of America's relationship with Latin America. Many hoped that the election of Barack Obama would change such hypocrisy, but for now it seems those hopes have been dashed.