On February 3, 1962, President John F. Kennedy issued an executive order to impose “an embargo on all trade with Cuba.” Over the past 60 years, the embargo has evolved through various punitive economic, financial, and commercial sanctions and restrictions, curtailing trade, aid, travel, and most recently internet services that would directly benefit the Cuban people. Despite President Obama’s call on Congress to “lift” the embargo as part of his short-lived effort to normalize relations, the economic restrictions remain as the central pillar of U.S. policy, and an enduring symbol of Washington’s perpetual hostility toward the Cuban government.
How has the embargo endured for six decades as the longest set of sanctions in U.S. foreign policy history? Has it advanced U.S. policy goals toward Cuba? What is its impact on the Cuban people? On the 60th anniversary of the embargo a panel of veteran policy analysts and economists will address these and other questions.
Cosponsored with the World Affairs Councils of America, the National Security Archive and the Washington Office on Latin America, hosted by WOLA's assistant director for Cuba, Mariakarla Nodarse, and moderated by Peter Kornbluh, the Archive’s Cuba policy specialist, the panel features:
- William M. LeoGrande: Dr. LeoGrande is professor of government, and a former Dean of the School of Public Affairs at the American University in Washington D.C. A Senior Fellow at the Washington Office on Latin America, he is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Cuba, and U.S.-Cuba relations. He will address the current status of the embargo, and evolution since it was imposed in 1962.
- Ricardo Torres Pérez: Professor Torres is one of Cuba’s leading economists. Currently on a research and teaching fellowship at American University in Washington D.C., he was professor of economics and an analyst at the Center for the Study of the Cuban Economy at the University of Havana. He will discuss the impact of the embargo on the Cuban economy.
- Gail Reed: A long-time resident of Havana and a former journalist, Ms. Reed is a founder of Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba (MEDICC) and executive editor of the MEDICC Review Journal which focuses on global health care. She will address how the embargo has impacted Cuba’s health care system, and impeded Cuba’s ability to obtain basic medical supplies during the COVID pandemic.