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Trade With Cuba: Benefits and Drawbacks Essay

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Updated: Sep 18th, 2020


Cuba is one of the countries in the world that has had controversial relations with the United States. The unfavorable relationship transpired after the independence of Cuba in the late 1900s. In 1961, the relationship worsened and initiated a scenario, which compelled the United States to impose trade sanctions on Cuba. Some exports from the United States do not cross over to Cuba, whereas those from Cuba do not reach the United States.

It is imperative to explain that the poor relationship developed soon after Cuba adopted the communist system of governance, which is contrary to the United States nationalist system. Also, since Russia supports the system of governance adopted by Cuba, the friendship between the two countries, Russia and Cuba, improved, a factor that crippled the relationship between Cuba and the United States. Therefore, the essay uses the benefits and drawbacks of trade to examine the reasons why the United States should not engage in trade with Cuba.


Increased Opportunities

Importantly, trade between Cuba and the United States increases the scale of opportunities for the populations living in the two countries. Employment and trading opportunities, as well as those for other relevant ventures, become available when the countries work together. Increment of opportunities transpires because good relationship expands the areas within which citizens of the two countries can look for ventures.

Imperatively, because Cuba and the United States have different systems of governance, the decision to trade together creates a platform, which facilitates the effective exchange of ideas and opinions. According to Perales, trade between the United States and Cuba can result in a productive exchange of ideas that can propel the economy of the countries (8). As such, countries need to work together.

Despite its small size, Cuba is one of the countries in the world that prides itself on the best medical expertise. The country has some of the best medical practitioners, who can handle various diseases to the best-known levels in the medical field. In the assertion of Zahniser, Cooke, and Arnade, Cuba is one of the countries that have the highest levels of medical expertise in the world (25). Therefore, by accepting bilateral trade with Cuba, the government of the United States stands to gain from Cuba’s wealth of expertise.

Consequently, Cuba has the most efficient systems that facilitate the evacuation of millions of its citizens in the advent of a disaster (Copeland, Jolly and Thompson 20; Sablik 18). Besides saving lives, the scale of preparedness saves properties and businesses worth millions, which would otherwise be lost in the absence of an effective preparedness strategy. The implication of working together is the adoption of similar strategies by the United States and the reduction of losses associated with hurricanes and other disasters that affect various parts of the country.


Conversely, trade between Cuba and the United States has some drawbacks. The system of governance and corruption are among the drawbacks that discourage the move to lift the trade sanctions and improve ties between the United States and Cuba. Fundamentally, since Cuba supports a communist system of governance, more than 80% of the country’s earnings end up in the central government.

The implication of the system is the fact that very little remains in the hands of the population, who work hard to deliver. Ann-Marie compounds the argument when she explains that the central government holds 90% of the country’s revenue (78). Therefore, even if the United States improves its trade with Cuba, the benefits go to the leaders and not the population, who are the main target of the policy or the embargo.

Cuba has been grappling with issues of corruption that taint its operations. Various sectors of the government have traces of corruption, and thus, even with the improved relationship, the benefits cannot reach the target population, but instead, remain in the hands of the few corrupt individuals. The fact that Cuba has a series of unpaid debts means that the United States may plunge itself into a scenario of bad debts just like Mexico, Paris Club of Nations, and Russia (Lynch, Aydin and Harrington 13).

It is important to assert that the debts written off by these countries are in billions of dollars and that the government of Cuba under the leadership of Fidel and his brother Raul has been adamant on repayment. Therefore, the recent move by President Obama to improve trade relationships with Cuba may not yield rewarding results.


Over the recent past, the United States under the leadership of president Barrack Obama has instituted strategies geared towards improving trade relationships between the country and Cuba. While the strategies focus on improving trade relationships, they have a range of challenges that come along with their adoption. The challenges are worth consideration because they may further complicate the bad relationship that the United States and Cuba have experienced since 1961. Therefore, the country needs to engage in an incisive examination of the drawbacks before embarking on the challenging venture of initiating trade with the government of Cuba.

Works Cited

Ann-Marie, Holmes. The United States and Cuba. New York: Routledge, 2009. Print.

Copeland, Cassandra, Curtis Jolly and Henry Thompson. “The History and Potential of Trade between Cuba and the US.” Journal of Economics and Business 1.1 (2011): 1-22. Print.

Lynch, Tim, Necati Aydin and Julie Harrington. “Estimation of Alternative Economic Scenarios of the Future Emergence of Cuba into the Global Economy in a Post U.S. Trade Embargo Era – Economic Impacts on the U.S. Economy.” Journal of Cuba-US Trade 5.21 (2004): 1-27. Print.

Perales, José. “The United States and Cuba: Implications of an Economic Relationship.” Woodrow Wilson Center Latin American Program 1.1 (2010): 1-10. Print.

Sablik, Tim. “Trading with Cuba.” Econfocus: Thirdquarter 2.18 (2015): 16-19. Print.

Zahniser, Steven, Bryce Cooke and Carlos Arnade. “U.S.-Cuba Agricultural Trade: Past, Present, and Possible Future.” A Report from the Economic Research Service 5.11 (2015): 1-30. Print.

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