Warning: politics ahead.
First, read this.
Here is a history of our trade relations with Vietnam (a communist country we actually went to war with). And here are some statistics on our trade with China (another bunch of commies).
So why are we still punishing Cuba? I'm no fan of Fidel's reign, but I have never, ever understood how exactly we were supposed to be "bringing democracy to the Cuban people" (that's verbatim from the 1992 codification of the embargo) by punishing them with an embargo. Not to mention that our own government tells us we can't go to Cuba if we want to. We can travel to Iran if we want to (although the State Dept. warns against it), but not Cuba.
The pigheadedness of our government occasionally drives me into fits of madness. We could form mutually beneficial partnerships with Iran, which has massive oil reserves but incredibly primitive infrastructure, but we don't because their president insists on saying stupid things and then our government responds by saying other stupid things. They act like schoolchildren, and all of our posturing and tough talk has gotten us nowhere. Now we find that Cuba potentially has huge oil reserves, but also a massive infrastructure problem. Will we be consistent in our hypocrisy and attempt to get American developers in there, or will be be consistent in our other hypocrisy and attempt to freeze development there?
We have negative history with Iran and Cuba. We've overthrown their governments and manipulated them (Cuba in and around 1899, Iran in 1953), and then we act shocked when they actually remember this and hold a grudge about it.
I hope the time will soon come when a serious attempt is made to normalize relations with Cuba. Fidel is dying, Raul seems... well, I'm sure he's not wonderful, but he has begun to institute some reforms. If ever there was a time to give the Cuban people some sort of hope for a better life, now seems like it. I have occasionally written my senators about this - since it seems they will be elected until they die (possibly even after), what do they have to lose?
Big sigh. I just hate when humans have to suffer because governments act like proud children.