A Hurricane Could End the Cuban Embargo

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The National Weather Service predicts between four and seven hurricanes will hit the Atlantic basin this year. Just one of those storms could end the Cuban embargo, Patrick Doherty writes for the Washington Monthly. Cuba is currently in a precarious position: both cash strapped and perennially vulnerable to hurricanes. Last year, the island was directly hit by four hurricane-force storms that devastated the country’s economy and its people.

If a natural disaster were to strike Cuba this year, President Obama could use an obscure U.S. law to end the embargo. The 1961 Foreign Assistance Act gives the president the authority to “furnish assistance to any foreign country” in times of humanitarian disaster “notwithstanding… any other act.” That means President Obama could unilaterally lift the embargo for a specified term to assist the country. Once the American people see that lifting the embargo won’t restart the Cold War, Congress could move more easily to end the embargo permanently. “One hopes that it would not take a significant uptick in human suffering to force a change in an antiquated piece of U.S. policy,” Doherty writes. On the other hand, it could work.

Source: Washington Monthly

Image by Kayugee, licensed under Creative Commons.

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