Home » Forum » Author Hangout

Forum: Author Hangout

Petition to end Cuban book embargo


Mark Coker, CEO & Founder of Smashwords ePublishing house, is sponsoring a petition to the White House to end the 50-year old book embargo against Cuba.

Books? Publishing? Really? He attended a conference there and was startled to find the Cuban literacy rate is nearly 100%, some 20 points *higher* than the US!

And the US embargo continues to have a devastating effect on publishing, authors, and the literary community there. It's senseless!

Link to the petition here:


Ernest Bywater

If my decrepit memory serves me right the original reasoning behind the embargo was to limit the technical knowledge available to Cubans working for Castro, but was a major failure due to the knowledge he wanted being made available by the Russians. So it's long overdue for repeal.

Crumbly Writer

I noticed that earlier, but I'm curious, who'd benefit more: Cuban authors, American authors or Cuban readers? Not that the Cuban immigrants children have grown up, there's no longer the big draw for everything Cuban (at least among them), though in the Spanish speaking countries, there may still be interest.

If anything, you'd think we'd want to export our ideas, rather than allowing the complete indoctrination of Marxism to continue.

Personally, I think it's a no-brainer, but there's a big difference between petitioning the President and getting the 'do nothing' Congress to pass anything, especially when they'd rather the next President pass any new bills. Chances are, Obama will continue loosening existing restrictions anyway.

Ernest Bywater

One thing to keep in mind is: when the embargo was put in place Castro was very busy executing or putting in prison the majority of the Cuban population who could read English because he saw them as working for or with the USA. Thus what was really affected by the embargo was the Spanish language books, which, at that time, weren't that many written in the USA. Thus it wasn't likely to have much of an effect. However, it was possible Cuba may have been exporting Spanish language books then, I don't know because I've not seen any data on that.

If the USA Congress is concerned about sale by Cuba and not sales to Cuba, then they can simply remove the export embargo and leave the import embargo in place.

Dominions Son


Cuban literacy rate is nearly 100%

I support a full end to the entire Cuban embargo.

That said, it would be best to take any statistics like this that come from the Cuban government with a couple of tons of salt.

Ernest Bywater


Cuban literacy rate is nearly 100%,

But I bet it's not 100% of Cubans being able to read and write in English, which is what the majority of books exported by the USA are written in.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

But I bet it's not 100% of Cubans being able to read and write in English, which is what the majority of books exported by the USA are written in.

As always, when U.S. officials visit, it's 100% of the people they meet, rather than 100% of the population. The government doesn't introduce them to the poor, only wanting to show off their strengths. It's likely better than the American education system, but I seriously doubt it's 100% that speak English.

Back to Top