On my recent trip to Cuba, I saw a significant increase in infrastructure upgrading. An example would be the new state-of-the-art super-port being built at Mariel, about 25 miles west of Havana. This will allow the world’s largest cargo ships with the deepest drafts to dock in Cuba. When completed, the terminal is projected to have an annual capacity of 850,000 to 1 million cargo containers. It is ideally located to handle U.S. cargo when the American trade embargo is lifted. Eventually, all industrial port facilities at the Port of Havana will be moved to Mariel so Havana Harbor can accommodate cruise ships and recreational boating activities. The industrial land area around the Port of Havana will be redeveloped for tourist and eco-friendly uses. This massive development project at Mariel is being financed primarily by Brazil to the tune of almost a billion US Dollars. At the same time, an integrated system of highway and railroad infrastructure is being built, along with a technical college.
In Varadero, 80 miles east of Havana, there are currently about a dozen luxury beachfront hotels being built by Canadian companies. (Don’t worry–Cubans are smart enough to cluster the beachfront hotels together. There are no plans to put a hotel on every one of Cuba’s 400+ beaches.) At the Hemingway Marina west of Havana, the Cubans are partnering with the Chinese to build a super-luxury resort. Their stated primary target market for the near future: wealthy Americans sailing their yachts from south Florida.
Every year, the United Nations votes to end the U.S. Embargo. Consistently, the only two countries that vote against this resolution are the United States and Israel. Thus the U.S. can claim that their “allies” support the embargo. Meanwhile, Israelis have invested over a billion US dollars in Havana real estate. Of course they support the embargo—it eliminates competition from American businessmen!
If you see a pattern in these examples, you win the prize. The bottom line is that, as more Americans learn that they can now travel to Cuba legally and easily, even more of their money will end up not only in Cuba, but also in Brazil, China, Canada, and various other countries. Billions of dollars could have and should have been earned by American companies. Over time, they could have had some influence on various institutions as Cuba awkwardly but rapidly emerges into the 21st Century.
This is just one of dozens of examples of why the embargo is seriously counter-productive to the the economic and national security interests of the United States.