by Circles Robinson

Cuba-estados-uniosHAVANA TIMES — One of the thorniest issues to achieve a full normalization in US-Cuba relations are the multiple property claims, in the billions of dollars, that both countries have with the other. To begin putting the different positions on the table delegations from both countries are meeting today in Havana.

The US delegation is led by Mary McLeod the acting legal adviser for the US State Department.

For decades Cuba has kept track of what it considers the damages caused by the internationally repudiated US embargo on the island. The government’s demands have also included the return of the territory occupied by the US Guantanamo Naval Base.

For its part the United States government defends the thousands of claims of US citizens that were certified by the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission. These include claims by individuals and corporations.

According to the State Dept. “The meeting is the first step in what we expect to be a long and complex process, but the United States views the resolution of outstanding claims as a top priority for normalization.”


14 thoughts on “US and Cuba Talks on Property Claims in Havana

  • The single greatest impact of the embargo is that it prohibits Cuba from using USD to settle accounts. On Cuban exports, not a big issue as Cuba has little to export. On Cuban imports, again not a huge problem as Cuba has limited hard currency or credit to purchase abroad. Of course lifting the embargo would increase market share. From 0% anything is an increase. If Cubans could develop software they could do that now. Coding and programming require few resources. Of course I believe that the embargo is legal. So does the World Court. It is also acceptable to the US Congress where it matters the most. I agree with you that Cuba has great potential. But lacking incentives is Cuba’s problem. That I blame on the Castros.

  • I was giving two examples where the embargo adversely affects trade between Cuba and other countries. You think that is acceptable and legal – I don’t and have given reasons why on numerous occasions.

    On the second point a lot of what you say is true but I was refuting the suggestion that Cuba doesn’t have anything to export. There is no goose that lays the golden egg, but if the embargo was dropped all these products would inevitably gain some market share which would have a great cumulative affect. In turn this would allow further investment and development of other markets.

    I also think that there is great potential for Cuba to develop software and other skill based products. There really is no room for negativity.

  • Daniel you are very wrong. Your example of the French cake company with Cuban sugar is false. They could simply sell their cakes elsewhere. The US limits the import of all sorts of products for all sorts of reasons. To assume their only market is the US is flattering but simply not true. The export of nickel to the US is a non-starter. Nickel is used in steel production and no longer a growth industry in the US. Tobacco growers in the US are fierce competition to the Castros. Cuban cigars are a specialty export. Cuban rum, likewise, would face price and quality competition from the Bacardi group to name one. Finally, check your stats. Cuba has been forced to import sugar in recent years.

  • Absolutely true. Any more than 5% of US components is blocked by the embargo. That’s why the US boarded the oil platform on its way from China. I’m not sure whether computers are excluded from the embargo as communications equipment or that Cuba has managed to circumvent by setting up bogus companies in third countries. But either way the point still stands that the embargo has done huge damage to Cuba’s trade with other nations.

    Your second point shows the political nature of the embargo. Why should publicly owned enterprises not be able to to export. It shouldn’t be up to the US to dictate the ownership policy in Cuba.

    Though Cuba is mainly a tourist destination there are plenty of things that they export now and could develop further if the embargo was dropped. eg sugar, nickel, rum, tobacco.

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