Latin America has for long had strong relations with the United States. It all begun in the early 1900s. In 1900-1920 the United States pursued an interventionist attitude, aimed as defending its interests in Latin America. It was officially articulated and clearly depicted in “Theodore Roosevelt's Big Stick Doctrine (Herring, H. 2005).” This is what modified the Monroe Doctrine which was meant in deterring any European intervention in Latin America. By the end of the war between Spanish and American troops, the new government of Cuba signed an agreement with the United States. This was the Platt Amendment done in 1902. It authorized the intervention of the United States in Cuban affairs every time the United States felt like it was necessary. This was practiced in the aim of protecting the country's interests. It took a long period of time with the U.S. still continuously intervening in Cuban internal affairs. This practice never ceased up to date and many leaders who have led Cuba always try to incline their down fall in the United States involvement (Shawn, M. 2006). This essay analysis most of the failures in the domestic affairs of Cuba and how the United States influence has been used as a scape goat by many leaders who fail to deliver.
The United States set many policies and forced the Cuban government to follow. However, these policies though set by the United States could as well have been amended by the Cuban government internally to suit their developmental issues. This is not a reason enough to use the United States as a cause of the country's failure. It is true that the U.S. has had many influences on the island. In recent years, U.S. policy in Cuba was guided by two objectives. One was to isolate the Cuban government in order to provide direct support to the Cuban population. The former objective took the central priority. Various measures were directed to help the Cuban people. However, the government would still benefit indirectly from them (Schultz, L. 2008).
Some elements which influenced Cuba were imposed in 1960. This was a year when the U.S. imposed a strong economic embargo on the general trade between them and Cuba. Although it was expected that the isolation would decline after the end of the cold war, the happenings in the recent years shows clearly an intensification of the pressure tactics from the U.S. The second of this U.S. recent legislation on Cuban government is the Helms-Burton Act. This was passed in 1996. It marked the codification of U.S. sanctions placed against Cuba. Cuban government has failed in the attempt to adjust these U.S. policies which is why most of the administrations still incline on the influence of the United States on most of its domestic failures (Green, D. 2003).
A major domestic failure in the Cuban government is the issue of health within the country. There have been reports indicating clearly on increase in iron deficiency (anaemia) among Cuban children. This is because they have inadequate nutrition and medication. The countries policies have failed to provide adequate health to the population which is highly growing in numbers. The U.S. has been blamed for the Cuba healthcare failure by the recent government an issue which cannot be applied in its advancement. The reason why the government hands the blame to the United States is in pursuit of sympathy from other states and this cannot work. It is really not a surprise to learn that Amnesty International has a major problem with foreign policy of United States. It doesn't even create any surprise knowing that a major problem exists in the Cuba's foreign policy. The government takes a ride when it illustrates the trade embargo imposed by the U.S. as the cause of health problems. This is just an attempt to play off the attention given to the extreme health care issue in Cuba (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/331694/Latin-America).
The government claims that trade embargo imposed by the United States has prevented Cubans from obtaining many of the latest treatments which they deem as the only saviour to treat their illnesses. This is quite rhetorical and contrary to what the official Cuban party declared. It had earlier proclaimed that health care is much superior in Cuba bearing in mind that it is adequately provided by the state. This is supposed to mean that, there is easy access to health in the country. However, the impoverishment is a clear indication that the failure is on the Cuban government and not on U.S. The country itself has the capability of creating medical treatments desired by its citizens and this would easily cover up the outsourcing of health care. The trade embargo is there to stay and instead of trying to play blame games, it would be better for the government to think of alternative measures (Schultz, L. 2008).
After the election of Obama, there might have been be a light on the issue which might end the trade embargo. However, the Cuban authorities are still rigid on the issue. Obama might be clear in trying to bring in normalcy in the Cuban relations but there are still issues which hold the embargo back. He might be bogged down in the partisan rancour which was created by the health care debate in Cuba. The people in the debate are simply incompetent in killing the nomination of the Supreme Court of Sonia Sotomayor. Rather, they are geared towards more fight on the immigration reform and this is simply something that might force Obama to extend the trade embargo. This is to show that the Cuban government holds domestic failures to the health care issues and might not need to look up to the United States to lift the sanctions (Michael, V. 2009).
Cuban leader Fidel Castro has been featured severally accusing the United States of the failures within the country. He recently accused the U.S. of siphoning off Cuba's best talents. The leader blamed Washington of committing what he termed as "scientific apartheid." He even added that this was done all over the globe. This was the recent information in the Cuba's state-run press. Castro said “America has skimmed off one in 20 Cuban professionals, including many of the highly-regarded doctors, who are trained at great cost to this impoverished Communist state.” In the period between 1959 and 2004, there were over 805,903 Cuban graduates in various professional fields. Castro said that the unjust policies imposed by the United States were the greatest enemy of Cuban domestic developments since they deprived Cuba as a country of 5.16 percent of these professionals. He blamed the U.S. of using some appealing incentives to pull away the professional. This is clearly a skim of blaming the U.S. in the country's failure to provide employment opportunities for its professionals. Argumentatively, people want to advance and they need greener pastures where they can make their daily bread. With the Cuban government ignoring the issue of unemployment for this huge number of graduates, definitely they have to move. It is so clear that the graduates do not only move to the U.S. but also in other countries around the globe where employment is available. This is what can be termed as passing the blame game after failing to deliver (Granma, M. 2006).
Cuban Government has also blamed the "murderous" U.S. immigration policy as the one causing major deaths along the coast. It indicated that the recent tragedies of shark attacks were all because of the policies imposed by the U.S. government. A case of the brothers who were found dead along the coast was a clear indication that they had been attacked by sharks. This was after they illegally tried to reach Florida using a boat. The government fully blamed the sanctions by the U.S. as causing desperate measures among the Cuban citizens and they end up risking their lives in pursuit of green pastures. Granma, the daily press of the Communist party, was quoted reporting on the front-page that the root cause of all these lost lives was because of the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Law. This is a law that provided preferential treatment by the United States to all Cuban migrants who eventually managed to touch the U.S. shore (Granma, M. 2007).
Granma wrote “This is yet another disastrous and shadowy story of the fruits of the murderous Cuban Adjustment Act, and the unsustainable policy of U.S. governments against Cuba” Granma literarily slammed U.S. authorities saying that it lacked public information on such cases. It insisted that, the joy of the U.S. was to see all Cubans die while trying to reach for favours. The press indicated that many other Cubans died in the process of trying to make it through the 90-mile (145 km) voyage. It added “They refuse to give any news about Cuban citizens who, egged on by that monstrous law, lose their lives, suffer accidents, are kidnapped or disappear without sign (Bethel, L. 2008)”. It even demanded a report of the Cuban girl who was found unconscious alongside other 36 migrants in the Bahamas as well as the case of the pregnant woman who was taken by the U.S. Coast Guards. Since Elian Gonzalez, a 6-year-old shipwreck survivor returned, Cuba has been focusing its political guns and blaming the U.S. immigration policy for their problems. To make the situation even worse, the Cuban government still insists on the embargo as the major reason why many of its country's citizens have become poor and they risk their lives to move to the United States (Granma, M. 2007).
However, if it were not for the problems in the Castro's government, definitely the citizens would be proud of their country and they would not even miss to move and seek for other fields of exploration. The dictatorship in the land has given the country a draw back in development and poverty has increased over years, the exodus happens, not because people love the United States so much, but it is because they are freeing away from exploitation. Castro's government has lived with its failed socialist economy which is an indication that the common man is suffering in silence. There have been restrictions imposed on basic liberties, for instance the right to travel and this is also a major cause why people try out their way through illegal means. If the country had not imposed such travel sanctions and there was freedom in travelling, people would not be using boats which are prone to shark attacks but they would be moving in ships which is rather a safer means of travel. It is so evident that Cuban residents have the urge to be reunited with their families who inhabit Miami yet they are denied the opportunity, leaving them without an option but to do it the hard way. This makes it clear that the burden is on the Cuban government. There have to be changed in some of the systems imposed to clear of the various reasons why people free and reduce the illegal ways of trying to get out of the country (Vanden, H. E. 2004).
More blame lies in the technological field. The Cuban government has been all along sending views that the United States sanctions have been an enemy of technological advancement in the country. In the recent years, Havana - Cuba had to pay over $4-million (R28-million) to have the satellite internet access. This was late in the year 2005. This is an amount that is 25 percent more as compared to what could have cost them when using an underwater cable access. Therefore, the Cuban officials have come broadly talking bad about the United States influence as the hindrance to proper internet connections. The embargo is still the centre of discussion in this issue of internet connection. Washington had imposed an embargo on Cuba in 1962 which precluded any use by Cuban government as a communist nation of underwater facilities; therefore they could not install a fibre optic cable. Roberto Santiesteban, an engineer at Cuba's Telecommunications Company, revealed that this was a hindrance to faster internet. The domestic internet users are therefore forced to work at a slow pace which is not their will. He was quoted saying “cable connections give faster and better internet quality.” However, Cuba has had internet for over ten years (Granma, M. 2006).
Fidel Castro regime has made it even worse because it has allowed the social use of the web but has limited individual access of the internet claiming that there is insufficient bandwidth. Reports from the Granma, a state newspaper revealed that over 190 000 people in Cuba use the internet. To make it worse, there are over 1 351 domains registered ending in .cu plus at least 2 500 websites. This means that the pace at which the internet use is growing is alarming and might not serve the Cubans adequately. This is a situation that might be seen as U.S. caused. However, the reasons for the sanctions by the United States are clear. The country wants a change in Cuba. The Castro family has dictated over the land and there is no democracy (Robert, L. B. 2007). This is total humiliation against human rights and many people take it that the United States should pull out and give them the access. The government has also insisted that the blame is one the U.S. yet it is clear that with a change of the system things can get back to normal.
Another issue which has been focused as the United States Cause is the Swine Flu Spread in Cuba. The country failed to control swine flu spread and instead diverted attention on the United States blaming it more on their predicament. Fidel Castro said “tourists from countries like Canada and Spain introduced influenza A. in Cuba, and the U.S. president, Barrack Obama, triggered it to ease restrictions for Cuban-Americans who were visiting the island.” These were news released by the Cuban press (Bethel, L. 2008). Castro also added “the initial symptoms of AH1N1 emerged in Mexico since the first quarter of this year and almost simultaneously in the U.S. and Canada and from there moved to Spain.” And that “When the current president of the United States lifted restrictions on Cuban Americans travelling to Cuba for a large number of States in that nation, the epidemic had spread. Thus it appeared that the four countries that generate tourism or travel to our country by other causes were those in which a greater degree had spread the epidemic (Albert, W. 2005)”. This was a clear indication that a blame game had started. Instead on containing the flu and preventing it from spreading, the Cuban government assumed it and it killed many people in the country.
It is very logical that the United States does not control the health safety measures in Cuba. The systems in Cuba should have controls which apply all the safety measures including testing the visitors of such contagious diseases. Instead, the country forgot to improve on its systems and passed a blame that could not help the country which was loosing thousands of lives in this epidemic. The Cuban leader was also quoted saying “the first cases of virus carrier travellers in Cuba were initially infected people on the island and were relatively small, where there was one death in months.” He also added “But as the virus spread to all provinces, especially those with a greater number of relatives living in the U.S. it became necessary to purchase new test units (Brown, J. C. 2004)”. This is a statement that signified ignorance of the highest order. The country depicts its irresponsibility of controlling the spread of the disease in its initial stages. Rather, its poor health systems waited until the situation worsened only to pass the blame to the United States. If at all one case was detected earlier, proper measures could have been taken instead of waiting up to when there was a disastrous domestic problem in the Cuban community.
Boat hijacking is a common case in Cuba. This has given the Cuban authorities a major task of trying to contain the situation. However, the Cuban government still passed more blame on the United States. David Abraham an immigration law professor at University of Miami once said “People in Cuba think they will be treated as heroes here and it will take awhile for the message to get through.” According to the Cuban officials, they highly blamed the U.S. saying that their promises aggravated the risky behaviour in Cubans (Bethel, L. 2008). They stated that the Cubans could do anything including hijacking a boat just to make it to the United States. What they forget is that the Cubans feel like they are hostages in their own country. They feel like getting out as fast as possible and can override any risks just to make it to secure places. It is with this reason that the authorities use this as a scape goat to avoid questioning on why people free from their own country.
Cuba blamed the United States for sanctioning players and for not allowing them to join in competition. One of the best sporting teams in Cuba is baseball. The MLB completely banned Cuban teams from participating in sports events like the Olympics. Cuba has participated and won three gold medals in baseball at the Olympics. This was in the years 1992, 1996 and 2004. The 2000 Olympics was won by the United States. The association focused their blame on the United States which is a one side argument because of their patriotism. Carlos Rodriguez, the Cuban Baseball Federation president said “Those who bear most of the blame are the owners of the professional leagues who refuse to free up their ballplayers to compete (Burns, B. 2001)”. He added, “It's a shame because this decision will disappoint millions of young people who practice and love this sport.” The softball was also a culprit in the London Games having been dropped in an International Olympic Committee meeting held in Singapore. It was the first time ever for the IOC to eliminate any sports in 69 years. For Rodriguez he insisted on the point “Cuba would continue to make baseball a key part of its sports program because it is the national sport, it is part of our culture.” The authorities kept blaming the United States as having influenced the others to ban Cuba from the games (http://www.heritage.org/Research/LatinAmerica/hl895.cfm).
However, they did not focus on why the country was banned. A major reason was that, the country refused to have any reforms in the national issues. Castro had been an enemy of democracy and without any action taken; the country would still suffer more sanctions. This exempts the United States from the blame of having pulled the country out of the competitions. It is just a scape goat of reforms in the country which are hard to achieve in the Castro's rule (Bakewell, P. 2007).
Energy is also a sector that has been contentious in the country. United States could not have been the cause of energy crisis yet the Cuban government still used it as a scape goat. The country absolutely lacked a policy which would control and stabilize all sectors of energy supply. The Felton power plant destabilized and could not sustain the energy supply (Skidmore, T. E. and Smith, P. H. 2005). Cuba's energy sector was totally neglected for over 15 years where no investments or technological improvements were made. The capital repairs were also ignored and this was the root cause of the crashing of the energy sector. As compared to other sectors for instance tourism, health, telecom and education, this sector lagged behind a great deal. Castro himself even went on TV and discussed the issue clearing explaining the difficulties that plagued the Cuba's electrical grid. He however blamed the United States for their sanctions which could not allow them to purchase the relevant equipments for the upgrade. This is humorous bearing in mind that the neglect was on the Cuban side and the power plants could have been maintained for long instead of waiting for a full crash before they could act (Shawn, M. 2006).
It is crystal clear that the domestic problems in Cuba are inborn. Even with the country's administration pulling a blame game on the United States influence, this is for sure that they are covering for their mistakes. So much can be done in Cuba even with the sanctions from the international field. There are so many improvements that can be made yet the government still lays low in practicing good governance. It is also a high time for a wakeup call for the Cubans to improve their international relations so that some of these sanctions can be lifted and they can access good governance.