Rand Paul

Capitalism Should Be Our Weapon of Choice in Cuba

Embargoes don't work. Let capitalism and socialism duke it out.

|

Engagement or embargo? That is the question not just in Cuba but also in places like Iran, Russia, and China. Should we trade, or should we withhold our trade in hopes of changing the behavior of other nations? Which will have more impact?

For over half a century, we have had an embargo with Cuba. Not only did the Castros survive it, but they milked it for everything it was worth. As the only source of information on the island for decades, they stoked the nationalism of those Cubans who remained in Cuba to blame America for any of their shortages, instead of the true culprit: socialism.

The embargo did nothing to defeat Castro—absolutely nothing. It is possible it kept him in power longer because of the ability the embargo gave him to further control his people.

President Obama and I agreed on very little, but his slight opening with Cuba was one of those areas. Since his decision to allow more travel and commerce with Cuba, Americans are visiting in record numbers and on their trips they are displaying the greatness of American capitalism: wealth. Every dollar left in the hands of cab drivers, hotel workers, waitresses, and valets is a show of what awaits Cubans if they reject socialism.

We can't spread democracy through force, as we have shown time and again in our recent foreign policy. But we can model capitalism to the world, export it through our people and goods, and win the debate without one bullet being fired.

When I was a kid, my family was virulently anti-communist. We still are. We were opposed to the opening of "Red" China and all that entailed. We were wrong. China may still have aspects of socialism, but no one can argue it isn't more capitalist and freer than before we opened diplomatic relations and trade.

Instead of hiding our capitalism behind a failed embargo, we should tear down the walls of trade restriction and open up travel and trade even more. Instead of allowing the socialists to continue their propaganda unopposed, we should have sufficient confidence in capitalism to let them go head to head.

Let's see what Cubans will choose when they come face to face with iPhones, modern cars, and tourists with fistfuls of dollars buying Cuban services and goods.

I don't fear the government of Cuba. I don't fear competition between capitalism and socialism. End the embargo now and capitalism, like the endless waves that lap the Cuban shore, will erode the weak grasp of socialism, day by day, until freedom comes to Cuba—not with a beach landing of troops, but in the realization that poverty and socialism are, in fact, synonyms.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

79 responses to “Capitalism Should Be Our Weapon of Choice in Cuba

  1. I think you mean “vehemently”, not “virulently”, doctor.

    -jcr

    1. As a matter of fact everyone who came into contact with the Paul’s became anti-communist for couple weeks.

  2. “”””I don’t fear competition between capitalism and socialism. End the embargo now and capitalism, like the endless waves that lap the Cuban shore, will erode the weak grasp of socialism, day by day, until freedom comes “””

    Yeah that really worked with China and Vietnam, their communist parties are now powerless.

    Oops wait, China’s Communist Party is now the biggest business in the world. It directly owns many of the largest businesses in China.

    1. You have a lot of misplaced faith in the strength of socialism.

      1. Perhaps, but never misunderestimate the ability of an enclave of ruthless psychopaths to keep their boots on the neck of the people for a very long time. These Keile haven’t been in charge this long because they dint know how to crush the will of the people.

        1. Goddamn squirrels.

        2. The party leaders of Mao’s China would squeal like Orwellian pigs if they knew how much money their modern successors are making by allowing limited capitalism. Same thing applies to Ho Chi Minh’s followers & the Soviets of the Kruschev era. The new regimes realize that open brutality is bad for business.

          Rand Paul might be too optimistic about the time frame that it takes for this process to run it’s course, but the fact that these regimes do a lot better by peaceful trade than antagonism towards the US, is a real benefit.

      2. Are you saying that the Communist Party of China is not the largest business in the world

        List of government owned companies of China

        https://tinyurl.com/zfrzxys

        1. No, i’m saying it’s weird that someone who doesn’t believe in the power of free markets is pretending to be a libertarian.

          1. If the free market was so powerful then we would not have so much government.

            The free market is not magic and its not all powerful

            Government is powerful because it can put a gun against peoples heads and make them do things, and that is powerful.

            That is why I am opposed to giving government and especially communist governments vast billions in dollars. They don’t get weaker when you give them money.

            1. We should not give them money. You are correct. We should not, however, limit a capitalist’s ability to invest in and trade with another country and its people. The restrictions should not come from amercians.
              To that effect, the US government should not be protecting the investments of americans in other countries. Caveat emptor.

            2. Ok John.

    2. You really think nothing has changed in China and Vietnam in the last 20-30 years?

      1. In relationship to the power of the Communist Party of China? No.

        1. The party is undoubtedly authoritarian, but I think it’s a stretch to compare the party today to the party under Mao.

          1. If you protest the power of the Chinese Communist in China today how soon will you be put in jail or even executed?

            1. If you protest the power of the Chinese Communist in China today how soon will you be put in jail or even executed?

              If you’d asked that question 60 years ago, it would be more like “how soon after the bullet went through your head would your family be put into a labor camp?”

              China =/= Libertopia, but Baby Steps.

        2. There is an entire middle class in China that did not exist 30 years ago solely due to the effects of market forces, allocation of western capital into the continent, and a rising living/working condition of those Chinese fortunate enough to take part in what little bit of western capitalism has become part of their lives.

          Even our perverted form of capitalism in America domestically has made the poorest of the poor far more better off than the rest of the world.

          Imagine if we could get the leftist imbeciles out of the way and have unfettered laissez faire capitalism. Everyone would have equal opportunity at riches and failure.

          1. “”””Imagine if we could get the leftist imbeciles out of the way “””

            Why would the communists get out of the way when we have given them trillions of dollars?

            1. I’m talking about our domestic leftest dems and repubs. And it is entirely fantasy.

          2. There is an entire middle class in China that did not exist 30 years ago solely due to the effects of market forces, allocation of western capital into the continent, and a rising living/working condition of those Chinese fortunate enough to take part in what little bit of western capitalism has become part of their lives.

            Yeah but the Chinese middle class would be so much better off without that influx of wealth and capital. Then they’d still all be equal, like they were before EVUL western capitalists started to meddle. /sarc

            1. I know! Maybe what China needs is the right communist party in there to finally do it correctly.

              We all know the perils of kapital and all of its inherent evils. Like:

              Innovation, wealth, longer life spans, upward mobility, retirement, equal opportunity, medical advancements, distribution and specialization of labor, price signals, and creative destruction.

              Perhaps if we got rid of these things once and for all, we could all starve to death finally.

              1. All we need is for someone to be brave enough to repeal the Laws of Economics.

                And maybe while they’re at it they can work on those pesky Laws of Thermodynamics. Where’s my perpetual motion machine, dammit!

                1. We have an entire city, the FED, and hordes of economists trying to repeal the laws of economics.

                  I’d say the keynesians have been winning on that front. Although they will never repeal it, they will attempt to re-write markets economics; until, of course, it fails miserably. kind of like other attempted central manipulations of economies.

                  What remains amazing to me is that I still think many in power know damn well it has no chance of working but they are that psychopathic just for the taste of power, they will doom many generations into the future into debt laden lower prosperity. I guess I just cannot fathom that level of narcissism and craziness.

      2. The sole purpose of the Chinese Communist Party is to keep the Chinese Communist Party in power forever. If that means playing at capitalism to appease the masses (while greatly enriching themselves) so be it but let’s not pretend they’re moving towards “freedom”.

        1. No, but that drive to continue existing on their part is leading them to abandon communism in favor of capitalism.

        2. Abandoning Mao style communism for capitalism is by definition moving towards freedom.

        3. Political power is based on mass opinion, not the ruling elite. The CCP depends on public support, as do all governments. The CCP will “move” where the masses take them. Do you think the rabble is more friendly towards America/capitalism now than it was, after getting a taste of prosperity? Is that moving towards economic freedom, with civil liberty close behind?

          Let’s not “pretend” its not.

      3. I’ll say it has. For a start no one in Vietnam cares about ‘The American War’. Most people can’t tell you where the museums are.

        But they will happily discuss the Premier League soccer with you.


    3. China may still have aspects of socialism, but no one can argue it isn’t more capitalist and freer than before we opened diplomatic relations and trade.

      He seems to address that, although personally I think trading with countries like China is something of a fools errand as well considering they have zero problems with stealing patents and intellectual property. China wouldn’t have the military it has today if not for patents we’ve given them by proxy, but perhaps I’m wrong.

      There are probably worse things than opening trade with places like China, but it’s not really the best thing ever either.

      1. China wouldn’t have the military it has today if not for patents we’ve given them by proxy, but perhaps I’m wrong.

        I’m pretty sure far more of their military hardware is stolen/ reverse engineered Russian/ Soviet tech. Their Air Force isn’t flying around in copies of F-35s, but they are flying carbon copies (at least visually speaking) of MiGs.

        1. And, last time I checked, the Chinese are pretty good at math and engineering.
          At least as far as my kids’ school awards ceremonies go.

          1. Then why did their technological progress accelerate after we started trade with them? We already know for a fact they don’t respect copyright laws there, why do you think they don’t use things like the iPhone schematics and circuit miniaturization techniques in their own construction one wonders?

        2. Component parts and technological improvements being the operative portion. I don’t mean that they’re making our jets for us, but rather they’re making civilian systems that can be reverse engineered for military use.

        3. We could collapse their government if we “accidentally” left copies of F-35 designs lying around for them to copy.

      2. if you don’t like trading with China the don’t do it, and I’ll keep foolishly saving my money by buying their cheaper goods.

      3. Worse things?? Are you kidding? The choice is: Goods cross borders, or troops, i.e., trade or war. It’s that simple.

    4. It may not guarantee that the “communists” will lose their power, but it certainly works in showing the ordinary people of those countries the benefits of capitalism.

    5. China’s Communist Party is now the biggest business in the world.

      Ironic, innit?

    6. What happened in those places was that Communists just followed the lead of early 20th century socialist Benito Mussolini and re-invented Fascism. Create businesses that are market driven, which make money and provide better jobs than the failed central planning idea, and give an incentive to the people who run those businesses to make money. But you keep the one-party police state so that you can control speech and political activity (to whatever extent possible) enabling you to stay in power to collect payoffs from those that prosper. Communists are still in power and able to live well, and that is what really matters. Eventually, Cuba will go the same way.

  3. You give me one example of capitalism improving a person’s life – just one example – and then maybe I will agree with Rand Paul, but until then I think the best strategy is to deny the American people the ability to travel to Cuba, and spend their money in Cuba; it has worked since the 1960s, and I think it will continue to work in the decades to come.

    1. And if we do something like Obama did opening up travel, at least fort something in return. Obama got jack shit in concessions from those commie aholes. But then, Obama is envious of their communist system and wishes that upon America.

      1. Greater freedom of movement for US citizens ain’t nothin’… and I don’t really appreciate the US government using my own money and personal freedom as a chip with which to negotiate deals with foreign governments.

      2. I am all for opening relations with Cuba, mostly because we deal with many countries that are far worse. What pisses me off is that most people who want to open relations with Cuba think it’s because it is a socialist paradise and want to visit before it gets “Americanized”. Next time one of my friends says that Cuba is going to get “Americanized”, I am going to go on an hour-long rant.

        1. I would say to anyone who claimed Cuba was a “socialist paradise”: 1. If you really believed that you would be there, not here. 2. Thousands have risked their life to escape Cuba for the US, none are going the other way. 3. “Socialist paradise” is a contradictory term.

    2. What changed America from 3rd world colonies, producers of raw materials, to the world’s leading economy, leader of the industrial age, in a century? Was it iron-fisted control of business? Was it more or less economic freedom? Did any society ever say: Thank God we had the govt. here to start all those businesses or we would still be impoverished?

      You wouldn’t accept any proof of capitalism improving life. As you admitted: “…the best strategy is to deny the American people…”. You accept the initiation of violence as “best”, i.e., the denial of rights. Capitalism is economic freedom, e.g., the right to create wealth, to freely associate for the purpose of work, to freely contract. This is the opposite of denial.

  4. We were opposed to the opening of “Red” China and all that entailed. We were wrong.

    No compromise, even in the face of Armageddon!

    1. Quoting Rorschach?

      1. Maaaaaaaybe…!

  5. Let capitalism and socialism duke it out.

    I’m surprised nobody has ever tried this.

    1. The socialist are too chicken shit to come to a fair fight and the capitalists are usually too busy working and providing for the socialists.

      Its a scheduling conflict.

      1. The USSR slowly eliminated all capitalism. The economy crashed and the USSR with it. This is the fate of political systems based in institutionalized violence, i.e., governments.
        The US Empire claimed credit for the collapse but it was self inflicted. If the Reds had allowed some free market they could have blamed all economic woes on it, and taxed it. That’s what keeps the US Empire going, for now. Of course, it’s a dangerous game. A little freedom might grow too strong to tax & regulate. Then all those “strong” leaders would have to earn a living like the peasants, e.g., create wealth, instead of steal it.

    2. It was called ‘The Cold War’, you might have heard of it?

      1. I though the cold war was a bitch fight between nipple poking instragram whores.

  6. Oh, I think the Cuban people know pretty well what has been causing their problems without any assistance from Rand Paul.

    1. Uhm… wreckers and saboteurs?

    2. The heat?

    3. Uppity. Latin. Women.

    4. It damn sure wasn’t Che’ That guy was like a brother to those people.

    5. defecting outfielders

  7. “Let’s see what Cubans will choose when they come face to face with iPhones, modern cars, and tourists with fistfuls of dollars buying Cuban services and goods.”

    That requires that Cubans have a choice, and that is a questionable assumption.

    1. “I had no choice.” is the lie people tell themselves when they are ashamed of their choice. Cubans have always had a choice. They choose unwisely. The same for supporters of all governments.

  8. The issue should of course be framed in terms of increasing American’s liberty. Not the hopeless task of changing Cuba.

    If the Canadian, Spanish or French capitalists have little impact on Cuban socialism over the decades why would American capitalists have any more effect.

    As the US moves inexorably towards a socialist economy in the next 30 years, perhaps we will meet the Cuban economy as it has ever so slightly liberalized. #Victory

    1. Canadian, Spanish or French capitalists

      They’ve had as much impact on Cuban socialism as any other imaginary creature.

  9. Which lasts longer

    The Cuban Communist Party in power

    or

    The United States in its current constitutional form?

  10. So the reason you voted against arms sales to saudi arabia is…? Let me guess, that’s different.

    1. Yes, selling advanced military hardware to countries with a history of terrorism is different from allowing Americans to travel freely to Cuba.

    2. You can’t be serious? Do you really think selling weapons to Saudi Arabia is the same as letting Americans travel freely and do business in Cuba?

      I’m not a Ron Paul type or even a Rand Paul type who believes that freedom will eventually prevail in Cuba, it might in the long run, but who the hell knows for sure.

      So I say unless we plan on starting a war down there, let Americans travel there freely, and allow free trade and commerce between the US and Cuba and then wait and see.

    3. Are you being sarcastic? That’s just too stupid not to be sarcasm, right?

      1. If you have no comeback other than personal attacks, then you lose the argument, and your credibility.

  11. Nice to see the libertarians for autarky out in force in the comments.

  12. I found a great site that focuses on stay at home mom’s complete guide to gaining a serious amount of money in very little time. While being able to earn an passive income staying home with your kids. If you are someone who needs more money and has some spare time, this site is perfect for you. Take a look at…

    follow this link?..????????????

    Trump”s New Opprunuties See Here

  13. You claim more trade has enriched the rulers and that makes the govt. stronger. The strength of a govt. is not measured in wealth, but in mass support. If you want to demonstrate China is worse off politically then you have to show public support for the rulers is stronger. Can you do that? I think not.

  14. >>>Engagement or embargo?

    Annexation?

  15. I have no problem with Americans trading with Cuba. What I don’t like is those American companies and individuals getting any kind of government underwriting or guarantees on those deals. The U. S. government should not bail out any business that is left holding the bag when the cuban government reneges on payment, as it has done in the past. Let the company and its own financiers take the risk, not the American taxpayer.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.