Now that raul the munificent is showering Cubans with the right to buy technology the rest of the world takes for granted the number and intensity of pleas to end the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba have increased. But there’s a little problem. Despite what embargo opponents claim, the intent of the embargo was not to dethrone the castro monarchy but rather a reaction to the confiscation of American assets in Cuba. We’re talking about a huge sum of money here, the largest such expropriation in U.S. history.
Well Fortune magazine explores the issue of American claims in Cuba.
…claims made by nearly 6,000 companies are currently valued at $20 billion, and U.S. laws require all claims to be settled before trade can be normalized.
U.S. companies are not looking for a check, however, according to Patrick Borchers, an international-law professor at Creighton University, who studied the issue for USAID: “[They want] assets back or replacement assets or development rights.”
So in addition the human rights considerations there are obstacles to reestablishing trade with Cuba that can only be removed by the regime.
Office Max, which is one of the American companies with largest claims would certainly like to see a settlement. To that end they have lobbied the federal government to end the embargo by negotiating with Cuba. The problem has been that fidel has never wanted such a negotiation. It would imply giving some sort of ground to the U.S. and that has been completely unacceptable to the elder castro.
More about Office Max (formerly Boise Cascade) here.