There is an elephant lurking through the halls of congress that has many lawmakers ducking for cover whenever they see the beast coming their way. So feared is this pachyderm that as huge and as pertinent as it is to the debate, they make believe it does not exist. Whenever the elephant makes its way into the chamber, they walk around it as if it were just a piece of furniture, hoping that if they ignore it, it will go away all by itself.
Yesterday, the elephant parked itself in the center of the chamber while some lawmakers in D.C. argued in favor of lifting the embargo against Cuba’s vile dictatorship. Each of those lawmakers advocating the end of the embargo did his or her damndest to ignore the elephant mulling around the room, since it represents an important aspect of the embargo they prefer to ignore and not discuss: the reason the embargo was enacted in the first place.
The US embargo against Castro’s tyrannical government was put in place in response to the illegal expropriation of US owned property, which at the time was valued at more than 1-billion dollars. And while these same lawmakers that want to give the Castro regime a free pass love to use China and Vietnam as examples of how the US trades with other communist nations, they leave out the fact that both of those governments settled the claims US businesses had in regards to expropriated property. Castro, however, has no interest in settling this claim, or any other claim for that matter, especially when you factor in inflation and compounded interest. As of today, the legal claim US interests have in Cuba is now closer to 6-billion dollars.
To the horror of lawmakers who thought this elephant was going to be ignored, Republican Kevin Brady, representing Texas, acknowledged the presence of the world’s largest land mammal sitting in the center of the room yesterday during the debate.
WASHINGTON — Cuba must pay the United States six billion dollars in compensation for expropriated businesses and property before Washington lifts a decades-old trade embargo, a US lawmaker said Thursday.
“We must resolve the over six billion dollars in expropriation claims… before developing a more robust economic relationship with a post-Castro democratic government in Cuba,” said Kevin Brady, a Republican US representative from the state of Texas, speaking at a congressional hearing on US trade with Cuba.
Suddenly, the huge, 3-ton elephant, the one that everyone wanted to make believe did not exist, raised his trunk up into the air and let out a loud trumpet. Lawmakers scurried around, shuffling through their notes and did their best to act as if nothing had happened. Unfortunately for them, the elephant did not move and is still there, even now as you read this.
Lawmakers can close their eyes or look the other way to avoid seeing the elephant in front of them, but if you have ever been to the circus, you know you don’t have to actually see the elephants to know there are elephants nearby; what your eyes cannot confirm, your nose certainly will.