Source Analysis. This investigation focuses on how Cuba was affected by the U.S. embargo placed in the early 1960s. I will focus on how their medical advances were hindered and how their trade was affected.
To what extent did the U.S. embargo placed on Cuba hurt Cuba’s medical advancements and trade?
"We should immediately end the trade embargo which the US has imposed on the people of Cuba" -President Carter
Section A: Plan of Investigation....................................................................................................3
Section B: Summary of Evidence.................................................................................................4
Section C: Evaluation of Sources..................................................................................................6
Section D: Analysis.........................................................................................................................8
Section E: Conclusion..................................................................................................................10
Section F: List of Sources............................................................................................................11
- Plan of Investigation
This investigation focuses on how Cuba was affected by the U.S. embargo placed in the early 1960s. I will focus on how their medical advances were hindered and how their trade was affected. I have chosen this topic because I’m highly interested as to how isolating a country will affect it’s growth.
In order to answer this question, a summary of the findings will be given based on how much the U.S. affected a country from prospering. The analysis will include interpretations of the sources I plan on analyzing, such as books, speeches, theses, and articles. These sources will be of importance, especially when evaluating two of the sources I’ve used. In regards to how credible the sources are, it will allow me to conclude with the extent to which Cuba was affected by the U.S. embargo.
Word Count: 140
B. Summary of Evidence
In 1960, the first economic sanction was placed on Cuba, stopping all sugarcane imports. By 1962, President John F. Kennedy expanded this sanction to suspending all trade with Cuba. A year later, the U.S. Government issued the Cuban Assets Controls Regulations (CACR). The goal of this was to “isolate the Cuban government economically and deprive it of US dollars.” This goal was achieved by freezing all Cuban assets in the U.S. and regulating all commercial transactions with Cuba, not allowing them any freedom in their trade. Later on in the 1970s, with President Carter, restrictions began to ease up. In a speech given to the Cubans in Havana, Carter states “My hope is that Congress will soon act to... establish open trading relationships, and repeal the embargo. The embargo freezes the existing impasse, induces anger and resentment, restricts the freedoms of US citizens, and makes it difficult for us to exchange ideas and respect.” As Carter stated, it was primarily difficult for Cuba to exchange any ideas and improve their country; however, this only got worse with President George H. Bush passing the Cuban Democracy Act in 1992, which “forbade subsidiaries of US companies from trading with Cuba.” The goal of this was to “seek a peaceful transition to..resumption of economic growth in Cuba through careful application of sanctions directed at the Castro government and support for Cuban people.” Also, in 1992, the sales of medicines were officially exempt from the embargo. This, once again, caused for more a more strict hold on Cuba by encouraging other countries to also restrict their trade. Furthermore, this made the export of medicines and medical supplies and equipment impossible.
Up until 2001, the exports to Cuba from the U.S. were never greater than $10 million, including medications. Cuba’s inability to trade with other countries not only effected their economy, but it began to hurt their medical advancements and health care reform. Not only were these sanctions hurting Cuba, but they were also affecting the US. This was clearly shown through President Carter’s speech in which he stated that, “For more than a quarter-century, we have struggled unsuccessfully to guarantee the basic right of universal health care for our people.” The sanction on medicines required that the U.S. president certify an inspection on all medicines being exported to Cuba. It also required that the medicines exported be used for the specific purpose they were intended. Due to the fact that the U.S. is a major regional economic power, this also hurt Cuba because they were the main source of new medicines and technologies. This caused Cuba to become deprived of their human rights. “The restrictions imposed on trade and financing..severely limit Cuba’s capacity to import medicines, medical equipment, and the latest technologies, some of which are essential for treating life-threatening diseases and maintaining Cuba’s public health programmer.” Cuba was no longer able to make their own decisions, and relied on the US for any possible advancements and trade.
This is a preview of the whole essay
Word Count: 504
. Evaluation of the Sources
Source 1 - Extract From “Carter’s Speech to Cubans”, May 15, 2002, Havana University [Appendix B]
This extract is from President Carter’s speech to Cubans given at the Havana University in Cuba on May 15, 2002. Since this speech was given from President Carter, it is obvious the origin is a primary source, and the purpose was for the public of Cuba. As Carter stated his opinion on how America should lift the trade embargo, values and limitations became clear.
Although Carter is stating his opinion and it may be bias, the major limitation is that these views expressed in his speech may not be his real views. This is because speeches are usually designed to sway the opinion of the audience. He also speaks of offering the US’s friendship to Cuba in order to define a more “positive and beneficial relationship”, and to get rid of the divide since his views of Cuba’s healthcare and education are superb. So, in reference to the origin and purpose, the value is clear that the audience--the Cuban citizens--are hearing the official view of the President of the US. The views of any president are to be heard and taken importantly, even if these views are bias or not directly what the entire country think. The Cuban audience values and trusts President Carter’s words.
Word Count: 207
Source 2 - The US Embargo Against Cuba: Its Impact on Economic and Social Rights (Thesis)
This thesis gives a harsh perspective on how the US embargo deprived Cubans of their human rights. Published in 2009, the experts of Amnesty International had a great deal of time to analyze and research the effects of the embargo on Cuba. Since this is a public thesis, the origin is defined as all the expert writers combined, and the purpose is to attain the public attention and to educate them about human rights concerning Cuba and the US embargo.
In reference to the origin and purpose, values are to be found, including research, knowledge, and a quick overview of the topic. The expert writers obtained many years of primary research on this topic and have obtained thorough knowledge of all aspects related to the topic. Also, given in a organized fashion, the thesis gives a quick overview for readers wishing to receive easy information. However, since we are never actually given the names of the writers, this is an obvious limitation. Other limitations include that these writers did not have an eyewitness perspective and that since it was a short thesis with a quick overview, there may be gaps and errors.
Word Count: 192
- Historical Significance
The historical significance of the US embargo is obvious in that Cuba is still being effected today from the decisions made by the US. We can see how the sanctions made by the US have hindered the overall economic growth of Cuba, as well as its wealth. It is even more important and historically significant to see how these sanctions have effected their trading abilities and hindered their medical advancements. This in turn has affected their health care reforms and their capability of improving their economic status in the long run. Not only must we look at the historical significance of the US embargo on Cuba, but we must consider its historical context at the time of the embargo. Cuba was in fact dealing with the harsh dictatorship of the Castro government. Not only was Cuba having difficulties at this time, but we must also remember that the 1960s brought the Civil Rights Movement for the US and change was rapidly occurring.
The evidence that the US embargo hurt Cuba’s medical advancements and trade are shown throughout multiple sources. For example, from the thesis written on this subject matter, we can clearly see that Cubans’ social rights were taken away from them. The economic sanctions placed on Cuba isolated them from the rest of the world, having the U.S. look after all of their trade; they had restricted freedom. Restrictions imposed by the embargo hindered their ability to access medicines and medical supplies, limited their exchange of medical and scientific information (due to travel restrictions and currency regulations), and caused less progress on their health care system. “Cuba was deprived of their human rights”.
Although the outcome of this embargo ended up hurting Cuba in the long run, at the time of the first sanctions, the US believed them to be beneficial. The US, fearing the Castro dictatorship and communism at the time, tried their best to isolate the country from interacting with others, in order to keep communism from spreading. In a successful manner, they have isolated communism and a fearful dictatorship; however, they have only caused more issues for the country. For example, due to fear of the Castro government, President George H. Bush passed the Cuban Democracy Act in 1992. This hurt Cuban trade because they became completely isolated from the rest of the world, even though it was meant to “support” Cuba and help them regain economic growth. Also, at this time the sales of medicines became exempt from the embargo, and soon all medicine exports to Cuba became smaller and smaller. Cuba was not even able to receive all the medicine they needed. Not only was their medical advancements hindered, but their health care was not as strong anymore.
Even though the US thought at the time that they were only helping Cuba with the government--as well as defeating communism--Cuba must face the outcome. All the years past where they were not able to achieve any further advances in medicine, or deal with other countries for importing goods and exporting their own goods for money. Nor were they able to even prosper in their own goods in order to have a chance for exporting them. So, not only was Cuba hindered in achieving medical advancements and medicines, but it was also hurting their progress by reducing their infant and maternal mortality rates, and contributing to malnutrition, poor water quality, and hurting their health care reform. Cuba was not able to provide the same standards in their health care system due to the embargo. Now, they must make up for many years of loss and time wasted, in order to be an economic power once again.
III) Different Interpretations
The fact that Cuba was under the harsh dictatorship of the Castro government led many to believe that the US was trying to help them out by placing the embargo upon them; however, even President Carter saw the harm made. He stated that he believed the US should lift the trade embargo in order to achieve a more beneficial relationship between the two countries. Although he believed this, other presidents such as President George H. Bush, enforced the embargo and placed sanctions that hindered Cuban trade. Also, a group has studied all the effects of the embargo in order to publish a thesis stating how it has deprived and isolated Cuba as an economic power with social rights. Although many sources show the negative impact on Cuba due to the embargo, there are still sources that state the US was only doing what they thought was best for Cuba, the rest of the world, and democracy.
Word Count: 769
“The restrictions imposed on trade and financing, with their extra-territorial aspects, severely limit Cuba’s capacity to import medicines, medical equipment and the latest technologies, some of which are essential for treating life-threatening diseases and maintaining Cuba’s public health
programs.” This is a direct reference to the negative effects of the US embargo on Cuba’s medical advancements and trade.
Although it has been taken into consideration that the US believed on multiple occasions that they were not only helping Cuba but protecting the rest of the world, the real truth must prevail. Despite the US’s positive and beneficial intentions, Cuba was drastically hurt by the embargo placed by the US. Cuba was forced into isolation from the rest of the world, which in turn did not allow them to trade. Not only did this affect their economy, but they also became behind in medical advancements. The negative impact of the US embargo placed on Cuba, in terms of medical advancements and trade, cannot be hidden from the public.
Word Count: 169
- List of Sources
Hull, Cordell. "The Fading U.S. Embargo on Exports to Cuba." Web log post. The Custom-House: The U.S. in the World Economy. 29 Nov. 2007. Web. 26 Feb. 2011. <>.
Welch, Richard E. Response to Revolution: the United States and the Cuban Revolution, 1959-1961. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1985. Print.
De Thommy, Plus. "Effects of US Embargo on Cuba." Cartoon. Enjoy the World of Cartoons. GmbH, 15 Sept. 2010. Web. 26 Feb. 2011. <>.
Latuff. "U.N. Vote to Condemn Cuba Embargo Isolates U.S. in Hemisphere." Cartoon. Progresso Weekly. 2009. Web. 26 Feb. 2011. <>.
Peters, Charles."Just the Facts." Washington Monthly Jan. 1999: 22. Questia. Web. 12 Feb. 2011.
Carter, Jimmy. "Carter's Speech to Cubans." Speech. Carter's Speech to Cubans. Havana University, Havana. 15 May 2002. BBC News. Web. 12 Feb. 2011. <>.
The US Embargo Against Cuba: Its Impact on Economic and Social Rights. Thesis. United Kingdom, 2009. London: Amnesty International Publications, 2009. Print.
[Author unknown] "CIA - The World Factbook." Welcome to the CIA Web Site — Central Intelligence Agency. CIA. Web. 26 Feb. 2011. <>.
[Author unknown] "Cuba." U.S. Department of State. 25 Mar. 2010. Web. 12 Feb. 2011. <>.
Sierra, Jerry A. "Economic Embargo Against Cuba." Cuban History Begins Here. Web. 12 Feb. 2011. <>.
[Appendix A] - Effect of US Embargo on Cuba Cartoon, Available at <> [Accessed on 26 February 2011]
[Appendix B] - Carter’s Speech to Cubans, Available at <> [Accessed on 12 February 2011]
“Since [the Cuban revolution in 1959], our nations have followed different philosophical and political paths.
The hard truth is that neither the United States nor Cuba has managed to define a positive and beneficial relationship. Will this new century find our neighbouring people living in harmony and friendship?
Our two nations have been trapped in a destructive state of belligerence for 42 years, and it is time for us to change our relationship and the way we think and talk about each other
I did not come here to interfere in Cuba's internal affairs, but to extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people and to offer a vision of the future for our two countries and for all the Americas.
Our two nations have been trapped in a destructive state of belligerence for 42 years, and it is time for us to change our relationship and the way we think and talk about each other. Because the United States is the most powerful nation, we should take the first step.
First, my hope is that Congress will soon act to permit unrestricted travel between the United States and Cuba, establish open trading relationships, and repeal the embargo.
The embargo freezes the existing impasse, induces anger and resentment, restricts the freedoms of US citizens, and makes it difficult for us to exchange ideas and respect.
Second, I hope that Cuba and the United States can resolve the 40-year-old property disputes with some creativity.
When Cubans exercise this freedom to change laws peacefully by a direct vote, the world will see that Cubans, and not foreigners, will decide the future of this country
Most US companies have already absorbed the losses, but some others want to be paid, and many Cubans who fled the revolution retain a sentimental attachment for their homes.
I propose that our two countries establish a blue-ribbon commission to address the legitimate concerns of all sides in a positive and constructive manner.
Third, some of those who left this beautiful island have demonstrated vividly that the key to a flourishing economy is to use individual entrepreneurial skills. But many Cubans in South Florida remain angry over their departure and their divided families. We need to define a future so they can serve as a bridge of reconciliation between Cuba and the United States.
Are such normal relationships possible? I believe they are.
Cuba has adopted a socialist government where one political party dominates, and people are not permitted to organize any opposition movements.
After 43 years of animosity, we hope that someday soon you can reach across the great divide that separates our two countries and say: 'We are ready to join the community of democracies,' and I hope that Americans will soon open our arms to you and say: 'We welcome you as our friends'
Your constitution recognises freedom of speech and association, but other laws deny these freedoms to those who disagree with the government.
My nation is hardly perfect in human rights. A very large number of our citizens are incarcerated in prison, and there is little doubt that the death penalty is imposed most harshly on those who are poor, black or mentally ill.
For more than a quarter-century, we have struggled unsuccessfully to guarantee the basic right of universal health care for our people. Still, guaranteed civil liberties offer every citizen an opportunity to change these laws.
That fundamental right is also guaranteed to Cubans.
It is gratifying to note that Articles 63 and 88 of your constitution allows citizens to petition the National Assembly to permit a referendum to change laws if 10,000 or more citizens sign it.
I am informed that such an effort, called the Varela Project, has gathered sufficient signatures and has presented such a petition to the National Assembly. When Cubans exercise this freedom to change laws peacefully by a direct vote, the world will see that Cubans, and not foreigners, will decide the future of this country.
'Reach across the divide'
Cuba has superb systems of healthcare and universal education, but last month most Latin American governments joined a majority in the United Nations Human Rights Commission in calling on Cuba to meet universally accepted standards in civil liberties.
Public opinion surveys show that a majority of people in the US would like to see the economic embargo ended, normal travel between our two countries, friendship between our people, and Cuba to be welcomed into the community of democracies in the Americas.
At the same time, most of my fellow citizens believe that the issues of economic and political freedom need to be addressed by the Cuban people.
After 43 years of animosity, we hope that someday soon you can reach across the great divide that separates our two countries and say: "We are ready to join the community of democracies." And I hope that Americans will soon open our arms to you and say: "We welcome you as our friends."”
The US Embargo Against Cuba: Its Impact on Economic and Social Rights.
See Appendix B
The Custom-House: The U.S. in the World Economy. <>