The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
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<"Is it true that sanctions imposed on Cuba are harsher than the sanctions
imposed on Iraq?">
- The Cuba sanctions are largely unilateral, whereas the Iraq sanctions are multilateral. Cuba has trading partners, while Iraq (other than OFF and black/gray market) does not.
- The Iraq sanctions were extended against a country whose infrastructure was heavily damaged by war.
That said, purely from a U.S. perspective, the Cuba sanctions are in some respects harsher than those imposed on Iraq: the U.S. has embargoed even food and medicine for Cuba. This changed recently, though this "easing" may be in name only (see below).
Epidemiologist Richard Garfield compared the responses of the Cuba and Iraq governments to sanctions in MERIP last year <http://www.merip.org/mer/mer215/mer215.html>. Unfortunately, his article isn't web posted, but as I recall:
>> The Castro government appears to have done a better job than Iraq's in a) mobilizing health/social resources and b) targeting at-risk sub-groups.
>> Even so, the "excess death" estimate for the Cuba embargo is significant (roughly 7,500 people as I recall, though please don't cite without verifying against the article.)
Golden Valley, MN USA
San Francisco Chronicle
A Policy Only Fidel Could Love
Friday, October 20, 2000
CUBAN PRESIDENT Fidel Castro must have been smiling inside as he led an anti-U.S. protest down Havana's Malecon coastal highway earlier this week.
Once again, he thundered against the unrelenting U.S. sanctions -- he calls the policy a ``blockade'' -- against his island nation.
``They have included a load of restrictions, which are humiliating for the country -- and make it impossible in practice,'' Castro said of the latest congressional attempt to squeeze Cuba's economy.
Be careful what you wish for, Fidel.
After all, the 40-year isolation of Cuba has proved to be Castro's greatest source of political power. The Cuban people are left mired in poverty, dependent on the central government -- and the graying, bearded revolutionary can blame all the misery on the United States.
A congressional bill that recently began as an attempt to ease the sanctions -- allowing the sale of food to Cuba -- has just been loaded with conditions that will make those sales highly unlikely. The anti-Castro zealots in Congress added a provision that effectively forbids any financing of such food sales. Thus, credit-strapped Cuba would be forced to either pay cash or get the money from a foreign bank.
Another sanction-tightening provision would severely limit the administration's ability to ease travel restrictions on Cuba, even as a modest influx of American tourists has begun to spread dollars and firsthand evidence of the fruits of capitalism.
When will this failed policy end? Don't look for a policy change from Gov. George W. Bush, who has hard-headedly vowed to maintain sanctions until the Cuban government allows ``free elections, free speech and freedom for political prisoners.'' Vice President Al Gore has been simply spineless on the issue, with his pandering on the Elian Gonzalez custody case and his refusal to take an immediate stand on these latest sanctions.
Is there any doubt that Castro would rather be leading an anti-U.S. parade in his olive- drab fatigues than facing a citizenry that was growing healthy and prosperous -- and more independently minded -- as a result of greater interaction with the United States?
The Cuban people continue to pay the price for the major-party candidates' obsession with Florida's 25 electoral votes.