The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

The U.S. Demands Compensation for Seized Property

Jan 4, 2016

Since the reestablishment of relations between the U.S. and Cuba, the two countries have opened embassies and negotiations are progressing. Now the urgent question of money is on the table.

Negotiations have begun over compensation for property the Cuban state nationalized when the U.S. broke off all relations with the Cuban revolution. Almost 6,000 pieces of property are involved, going from homes to businesses. These include several large hotels, including the Hilton, and others belonging to the Mafia. Before 1959, Cuba was practically an annex of Las Vegas.

The amounts of money at stake are often less than a million dollars, but some are large–like the $267 million for the Cuban electric company. Among the U.S. companies demanding compensation, there are big corporations like Texaco and Colgate, but also the Catholic church.

Today, the U.S. demands eight billion dollars, which includes inflation over the years plus interest. The Cuban negotiators on the other hand demand $120 billion in compensation for the more than half century of the embargo.

Obama promised the multinationals that the recognition of Cuba would lead to a big new market, with tens of billions of dollars in sales. So maybe the negotiations will lead to a compromise. It remains to be known what price Cuba will pay, whose population has already paid very dearly for the embargo.