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Context of '1960: US Introduces Trade Embargo against Cuba'

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Fearful that the Haitian revolution might inspire enslaved Africans in other parts of the world to rebel, US Congress bans trade with Haiti joining French and Spanish boycotts. The embargoes cripple Haiti’s economy, already weakened by 12 years of civil war. The embargo will be renewed in 1807 and 1809. (Dunkel 1994) The embargo is accompanied by a threat of recolonization and re-enslavement if Haiti fails to compensate France for losses incurred when French plantation owners lost access to Haiti’s slave labor. (Tayler 12/3/2003; Charles 12/18/2003; Rhodes-Pitts 1/4/2004)

The US begins a 40-year plus trade embargo on Cuba. (Perez 1995; Guardian 11/28/2001) The embargo applies to a wide range of goods including both food and medicine. (Perez 1995; Guardian 11/28/2001) Beginning in 1992, the UN General Assembly will annually condemn these sanctions against Cuba. (Guardian 11/28/2001)

Janio da Silva Quadros is elected president of Brazil by a record margin. He mysteriously resigns, reportedly under military pressure. Joao Goulart, the vice-president, succeeds Quadros as president and aims to continue Quadros’ independent foreign policy. He expands the country’s trade with socialist countries and refuses to participate in the embargo against Cuba. (Keen 1992, pp. 357; Blum 1995; Fausto 1999, pp. 263-264) Joao Goulart is no communist. He is described as a “millionaire landowner and a Catholic who wears a medal of the Virgin around his neck.” He receives “a ticker-tape parade in New York City in April, and toasts the US ambassador, ‘To the Yankee Victory!’ after the Cuban Missile Crisis in October.” (Blum 1995)

The US begins an economic and military trade embargo against Iraq. (PBS Frontline 1/9/1996) The embargo is authorized by UN Resolution 661. (NationMaster 12/23/2007)

For the fourteenth consecutive year, the UN General Assembly, in a record 182 to 4 vote, calls on the US to end its four-decade-old embargo against Cuba (see 1960). Voting against the measure are the US, Israel, Palau, and the Marshall Islands. Micronesia abstains, while El Salvador, Iraq, Morocco, and Nicaragua do not vote. (Lederer 11/8/2005; CBC News 11/8/2005; EuroNews 11/9/2005) (The Palau Archipelago was administered by the United States as the last UN trust territory until 1994. The Marshall Islands, taken by the US during World War II, became self-governing under US military protection in 1976, achieving free-association status in 1986. The combined population of Palau and the Marshall Islands is less than 80,000.) (Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. 2005; Columbia Encyclopedia. Sixth edition 2005) Before the vote, speaker after speaker in the General Assembly debate speaks out against the US sanctions (Lederer 11/8/2005) , while Ronald Godard, a deputy United States ambassador, asserts that “if the people of Cuba are jobless, hungry, or lack medical care, as Castro admits, it’s because of his economic mismanagement.” (New York Times 11/9/2005) After the votes are tallied up, many delegates in the General Assembly hall reportedly burst into applause. (Lederer 11/8/2005) US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton, calls the vote “a complete exercise in irrelevancy.” (Lederer 11/8/2005)


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