The Main Unresolved Disputes between Cuba and the US

By Isaac Risco

Cuba EEUU (3)HAVANA TIMES — Despite the agreement to re-establish diplomatic ties signed this Monday, the United States and Cuba have many unresolved disputes after more than fifty years of ideological conflict, DPA reported.

Below are the main differences that could make the normalization of relations between the two countries difficult for some time to come.


Lifting of the embargo: The demand regarding the harsh economic and commercial sanctions that the United States has been applying on the island for decades is Cuba’s main battle horse. The embargo, which has governed relations almost entirely since 1962, is also widely rejected by the international community. In its 2014 “Report on the Blockade,” Cuba estimated the total damages caused by the embargo at 116.88 billion dollars. In January of this year, President Raul Castro spoke of the need for “fair compensation” for the damages caused by the embargo, without offering any further details.

US programs and support for Cuban dissidents: In the same speech, Castro demanded that Florida radio and television broadcasts aimed at the island – many of which are financed by US government programs “for the democratization of Cuba” – cease entirely. Havana is also critical of the support Washington offers dissidents on the island, such as the independent journalist courses offered at its diplomatic facilities. Cuba accuses government opponents of being “mercenaries” intent on destabilizing the country.

Return of Guantanamo: The controversial naval base on Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay, on the island’s easternmost territory, is under the control of the United States by virtue of a lease agreement signed in 1903. Havana demands that this territory be returned to Cuba, but Washington refuses to do so, pointing out the perpetual nature of the lease agreement, which Cuba has not recognized since 1959.


Human right situation in Cuba: On several occasions, the United States has underscored that it will continue to criticize the civil liberties situations in Cuba and demanding rights for the island’s political opposition.

On announcing the historical rapprochement with Cuba on December 17 last year, President Barack Obama stressed that his administration would continue “openly addressing differences” with Cuba on issues of “democracy and human rights.”

Claims arising from expropriations following the Cuban revolution: Thousands of US companies and citizens demand compensation from the Cuban State for the seizure of properties following the revolution of 1959.

The US Department of Justice commission that addresses these types of claims against foreign governments has to date approved 5,913 claims related to Cuba. The amount is over 1.9 billion dollars at the time of expropriation, the equivalent of 7 billion dollars today, The New York Time estimates.

8 thoughts on “The Main Unresolved Disputes between Cuba and the US

  • The embargo simply protects U.S. citizens and companies from loosing money while dealing with an unfunded group of people that control Cuban economy. You only have to collect cash for your products before they can be shipped to Cuba, Go down to the Miami airport and watch people taking, literally tons of goods on commercial flights everyday, 4 times a day!!!

  • It is not just the 6,000 U.S. citizens and companies, there was about 6,000 other entities whose title to property that must be acknowledged. Obama cannot dictate the resolution of this problem. Socialist ideas are good at raising taxes, but do not work well in building economies.

  • The US still has an unresolved dispute with the descendents of colonists loyal to the crown who had their property seized during the American Revolution. What’s good for the goose………………

    Godfrey–Milliken Bill

  • You are way, way, way ahead of the reality which is that apart from opening embassies nothing has changed. There are still restrictions placed by the US on American citizens visiting Cuba, the embargo remains in place and the people of Cuba are still under the dictatorship of the Castro family regime. The day to day life of Cubans has not changed except that the cost of living is increasing, but the average monthly pittance of $20.68 and pension of $8 remain static.

  • You missed the repeal of the Cuban Adjustment act (including the wet feet-dry feet policy), which most likely will be the next one going down given the normalization of bilateral relationships.

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