Toward the end of last year, December 17th to be exact, President Obama announced an initiative that would eventually normalize relations with Cuba. If successful, it would end a 50 year freeze in both economic and travel restrictions by the United States. But the United States has been flying solo in this effort for more than five decades and on this day in military history back in 1964, the U.S. “punished” some of our allies for continuing to engage in trade with Cuba. What was this punishment and to who?
The United States decided to cut off approximately $100,000 to each of three of our allies, Britain, France and Yugoslavia. Obviously, the $100,000 would hardly make a dent in any of the three economies so the effort was entirely symbolic. Yet the Castro regime survived the missive. All three countries protested the move, even though the amount was really a drop in the bucket and it’s very likely they knew in advance of the move through diplomatic channels. Later, the United States cut off military assistance to the three yet Britain, France and Yugoslavia ignored the decree and continued their trade with the Cuban regime. Over time, these restrictions were removed, having little impact.
In 2014, the U.S. exported some 53 million in goods to the United Kingdom and 31 million to France. Yugoslavia is no more and was broken up into five countries from 1990-1992, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Serbia and Macedonia.