Diamonds are forever, how about sanctions?

Friday 7 October 2022. – I have never visited Cuba, but when the country is mentioned, my mind gets full of images of the streets of Havana with old buildings and classic American cars. Why cars? I cannot imagine any other country that brings car photos into my mind. 

The United States embargo against Cuba started on 14 March 1958. I guess the cars in the tourist photos are built before that day. The Cuban embargo remains one of the longest-standing embargoes in modern history. According to Wikipedia, the embargo applied first only to arms sales, however, it later expanded to include other imports, eventually extending to almost all trade on February 7, 1962.

In the latter part of the 20th century, similar trade sanctions by one country to another have been imposed at least to Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, and Vietnam. Sanctions have had a giant impact on the economic conditions of the targeted countries.

In the big picture, the trade restrictions are effective, but there are leaks in the system. As long as there have been sanctions, there have been attempts to bypass them. Russian plywood is finding new routes to western markets via “friendly” countries. This naturally feels unfair to the companies who obey the agreed rules.

It will be interesting to follow when and how the sanctions against Russia start to unfold. A lot of positive progress in foreign relations needs to happen before logs, veneer, and plywood start to move again on large scale. Common sense should take over toxic masculinity. Cubans drive over 60 years old cars. I wonder have they ever heard of hybrid engines or Teslas?