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  • Judge Jim Gray

Time to Reconsider Our Cuban Blockade

Our blockade of Cuba has been in place for more than 60 years. That means it has been upheld by 12 presidential administrations, and it is the longest and most leak-proof blockade in modern history. Of course, it certainly has outlasted anyone named Castro being in charge of Cuba’s government, but it's still noticeably harming large numbers of everyday Cubans. In fact, many people consider this action to be a violation of international law. We resumed diplomatic relationships with Cuba back in 2014, with no noticeable harms being done, so why not reconsider the blockade?

What does our present blockade do? Cuba is unable to export goods to the U.S., which is geographically its closest neighbor and certainly its largest potential market. In addition, the U.S. is prohibited by law from exporting any products to Cuba. There are some exceptions, but the bureaucratic obstacles, including the requirement that all products must be paid for in advance and in cash, make these exceptions extremely cumbersome. The Trump administration banned the entry of cruise ships and tightened restrictions on shipping companies that delivered oil to Cuba, as well as the number of flights and family remittances that were allowed. The Biden administration has reduced some but certainly not all of these restrictions. As a practical reality, most of the political force maintaining this blockade comes from wealthy Cuban-Americans who live in the politically-pivotal state of Florida. But isn’t it time publicly to reassess? In fact, doesn’t our national integrity demand it? We trade a great deal with Mainland China, why not with Cuba?

This article is a reprint of an original post published on Judge Jim Gray's site. The views expressed in it are those of the author and not necessarily the views of the Libertarian Party of Orange County.

James P. Gray is a retired judge of the Orange County Superior Court, and presently works as a private mediator and arbitrator for ADR Services, Inc. He was also the 2012 vice presidential nominee for the Libertarian Party, and can be contacted at, or through his website at

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