American Anthropological Association Statement on Cuban Trade Embargo

(adopted January 1994)

WHEREAS the U.S. Government has recently further tightened its 32-year-old trade embargo of Cuba by penalizing other countries who attempt to trade with Cuba; and

WHEREAS the U.S. ban on trade with Cuba has been unlike all other U.S. trade embargoes, a total embargo prohibiting the U.S. and now other countries from selling even medical supplies and equipment or food to Cuba; and

WHEREAS in the context of today’s changing world order, this U.S. embargo is imposing on the Cuban people undue hardship and physical suffering that has recently reached alarming proportions (see addendum for references to human impact accounts and UN prepared study on the economic and social costs of the embargo), and

WHEREAS this U.S. Cuban embargo policy, which cannot be justified on moral or political conflicts with the stated humanitarianism of U.S. engagements in other parts of the world such as Somalia and Bosnia,

The American Anthropological Association at its annual business meeting of November 18, 1993, condemns the U.S. Cuban embargo and asks that:

The U.S. Congress and President Clinton adopt a consistent humanitarian policy of alleviating human suffering by ending its Cuban embargo, and in particular lifting its ban on the sale of food and medical supplies and equipment; and

Adopt a more human approach to resolving differences with Cuba by encouraging a freer exchange of ideas and persons, lifting for example, its restrictions on U.S. citizens’ travel to Cuba and Cuban citizens’ travel to the U.S., including Cuban scholars and Students seeking academic degrees, and its ban on the sale of paper desperately needed for educational purposes.


The UN General Assembly passed a resolution on March 17, 1993 on the Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo by the United States of America against Cuba. The UN in its concern with noncompliance with this resolution and having learned that after the adoption of its resolution 47/19 new measures of that nature have been promulgated and implemented aimed at strengthening and expanding the economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba, and concerned with its negative effects on the Cuban population, in particular, its most vulnerable sectors, brought forth another resolution during the first week of November 1993 which focuses on steps toward implementing the initial resolution.

updated 9/15/00