Reparations for Cuba?

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary

by Daniel Nardini

I found an article in the Huffington Post that states that the Cuban government’s calls for reparations for the U.S. embargo as rational and acceptable. Cuban President Raul Castro has stated that for full normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States, the U.S. government should pay billions in reparations and return Guantanamo Bay to Cuba. Apparently, U.S. President Barack Obama going out on a limb to try and reestablish relations between the United States and Cuba is not enough. Now Castro wants to add totally unjustifiable conditions that the U.S. Congress will not accept and neither will a lot of Americans. It seems that Raul Castro has a very short memory—the embargo was put into place for the confiscation of American properties and companies in Cuba. Will the Cuban government return anything they took a long time ago?

When the United States established diplomatic relations with China, the U.S. government accepted reparations from the Chinese government for all of the American properties that the Communist Party of China had seized. However, the Chinese government was obligated to pay only 25 percent of value for all of the properties it took away. The American owners of properties in China did not get much. When the United States reestablished diplomatic relations with Vietnam, the Vietnamese government made no claims and no reparation demands against the United States. We have to remember that the United States fought a war in the two Vietnams of the time and caused considerable damage. Cuba and the United States were on opposite sides during the Cold War, and so yes they were going to have hostile policies against each other.

With all of this taken into consideration, to demand reparations from the United States is not only ill-conceived but could endanger the very attempt at already reestablished relations. It is unwise for the Communist Party of Cuba to be giving a largely Republican-dominated U.S. Congress ample ammunition to damage and even break recently reestablished relations. If this move by Raul Castro is to “please” the hardliners in the Communist Party of Cuba, then it is still an ill-advised move. As far as I am concerned, the Cuban government had better consider itself lucky that it has relations with the United States at all.

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