Debate on Lifting the Cuban Trade Embargo by President Obama

Debate on Lifting the Cuban Trade Embargo by President Obama

The topic is on the consequences of lifting the Cuban embargo by President Obama with the main focus being on the views and opinions of the Americans on the topic. This topic is important because it touches not only on the financial, commercial and economic obstruction on Cuba but it also touches on other areas such as democracy and human rights respect. This embargo was imposed on 19th Oct 1960 (Bain, Mervyn & Mollinedo 260). It is an obstruction to export goods to Cuba unless it is medicine or food. The importance of this embargo is to force Cuba to democratize and embrace human rights.

The American population is divided on the lifting of the Cuban embargo by President Obama. However, the top line views of the public are that lifting of the embargos would have positive results for America while it encourages democratization in Cuba. The main questions include the following. First, “do you favor or oppose the United States government ending its trade embargo against Cuba?” (CBS News Poll 1). 54% of Americans favor, 28% oppose while 18% did not provide the answer (CBS News Poll 1). Second, “do you think the US embargo against Cuba which has been in place since the 1960’s, should be lifted to allow US trade and tourism, or should the embargo not be lifted?” (MSNBC/Telemundo/Marist Poll 1). Approximately 66% of Americans said the embargo should be lifted, 24% said it should not be lifted while 10% were unsure ((MSNBC/Telemundo/Marist Poll 1). Americans are of the view that the lifting of this trade embargo would help in democratizing Cuba and in restoring human rights observation in the country while it yields economic perks to America.

The trends on the views of this issue by Americans seem to be relatively stable. In 2014 December only 55% had a positive opinion on Cuba. By 2015 July, the percentage of those with favorable opinion over Cuba had dropped to 54% (CBS News Poll 1). In 2015 September, 66% of Americans favored the lifting of the embargo (MSNBC/Telemundo/Marist Poll 1). In November 2016, 73% of the Americans were supporting the move by President Obama to lift the Cuban embargo (Tyson 1). The opinion over the lifting of this embargo remains favorable among the Americans with just slight fluctuations in trends over time (Bain, Mervyn & Mollinedo 260).

The issue has drawn demographic and political divides with some supporting the move to lift the trade embargo. Comparison between the two political parties indicated that more Democrats supported the policy to lift trade embargo. Approximately 62% of Republicans favor ending the trade and travel embargo while 84% of Democrats support the same policy (Tyson 1). Most of Americans support the move with youth having a more favorable opinion than adults aged 50 and over. 80% of adults aged 18-29 favor the policy to end U.S. trade embargo while 62% of adults aged 65 and over favor the policy to lift the trade and travel embargo (Tyson 1). Similarly, 73% of Whites favor ending of trade embargo while the support by the Blacks and Hispanics are 76% and 75% respectively (Tyson 1).

This topic is related to the issue of human rights respect and democracy. In Cuba, human rights index scores low. The Cuban government has been known not to tolerate criticism from the public and it has for many years cracked dissent (LeoGrande 474). When President Obama in 2014 announced that he would lift the trade embargo with Cuba, the Cuban government released about 53 political prisoners. This was a step towards democracy and towards respecting human rights. In 2016 polls, 42% of Americans believe that Cuba will be more democratic, 47% believe they will not change while 3% believe that Cuba will be less democratic after the lifting of trade and travel embargo (Tyson 1).


Works Cited

Bain, Mervyn, and Liliana Fernández Mollinedo. “Cuba: Trapped by history–Still?” International Politics 53.2 (2016): 260-276.

Cable News Network. CNN/ORC International Poll, [survey question]. USORC.2014012.R26. ORC International [producer]. Cornell University, Ithaca, NY: Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, iPOLL [distributor], Dec, 2014. Accessed Jan-28-2017.,%202014&sample=1011&qstn_list=&qstnid=1875855&qa_list=&qstn_id4=1875855&study_list=&lastSearchId=317672183814&archno=USORCCNN2014-012&keywordDisplay=

CBS News. CBS News Poll, [survey question]. USCBS.072015.R02. CBS News [producer]. Cornell University, Ithaca, NY: Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, iPOLL [distributor], Jul, 2015. Accessed Jan-28-2017.

LeoGrande, William M. “Normalizing US–Cuba relations: Escaping the shackles of the past.” International Affairs 91.3 (2015): 473-488.

MSNBC, Telemundo. MSNBC/Telemundo/Marist Poll, [survey question]. USMARIST.092115MT.R02. Marist College Institute for Public Opinion [producer]. Cornell University, Ithaca, NY: Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, iPOLL [distributor], Aug, 2015. Accessed Jan-28-2017.,%20Telemundo&studydate=01-JAN-34&sample=1689&qstn_list=&qstnid=1869991&qa_list=&qstn_id4=1869991&study_list=&lastSearchId=317672183784&archno=&keywordDisplay=

Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Political Survey, [survey question]. USSRBI.121316.RX01B. Abt SRBI [producer]. Cornell University, Ithaca, NY: Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, iPOLL [distributor], Nov, 2016. Accessed Jan-28-2017.

Tyson, Alec. “Americans still favor ties with Cuba after Castro’s death, U.S. election.” FactTank. Pew Research Center. 13, Dec. 2016. Web. 29 January 2017.



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