While Cuba’s apartheid regime celebrates Obama’s surrender, creditors begin lining up

No one can deny Cuba’s viciously repressive apartheid dictatorship scored major victories against the U.S. both in the political and public relations realm when President Obama unilaterally surrendered to their demands without requiring anything in return. However, with the “thaw” between the two countries generating oodles of Hope and Change sentiments everywhere in the world except Cuba, victims of the Castro regime’s criminal enterprise are beginning to pop up and claim what property and money stolen from them by the Cuban dictatorship over its half-century long crime spree. That “thaw” has apparently led some to believe that Cuba’s dictatorship is now contemplating becoming a member of society instead of a pariah.

But don’t expect the Castro regime to spend much of their time worrying about this. Sure, there may be some less than desirable press about the Cuban dictatorship’s criminal activities, but it won’t go too far. It’s not like any country they deal with has the moral courage to confront and present serious consequences for the crimes they committed. The only country that had that courage and moral standing was the U.S. For now at least, that is no longer the case. The days of courage where America stood up for justice and the rule of law are gone. All we have left now is Hope and Change; that and $1.00 will buy you a cafecito at La Carreta.

Via The Week:

Spanish push Cuba to settle old debts

Claims for assets seized during Castro’s Communist takeover could reach $20bn, says lawyer

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Spaniards whose property and belongings were seized when they fled from revolutionary Cuba are seeking restitution as the country restores diplomatic relations with the US.

“Change is underway in Cuba,” says Jordi Cabarrocas, director of an investment fund that represents some of the Spaniards whose property was seized. He told the New York Times that the improving atmosphere is “very good news” for his clients’ cases.

Cabarrocas says that various assets seized from his company’s clients, including farms, factories and warehouses, would be worth about $1.8bn now, and that Spanish claims in Cuba overall would amount to about $20bn.

Next week, as part of Barack Obama’s “new course on Cuba“, the US and Cuba are expected to restore full diplomatic relations with each other. They will also re-open embassies in each other’s capitals.

Although there is no direct link between the US negotiations and the Spanish dispute, lawyers acting for the claimants believe that Cuba is now more receptive to international pressure.

However, a significant obstacle exists. Spain and Cuba signed an agreement in 1986 in which Cuba agreed to pay about $40m in compensation for seized assets over a 15-year period. The fee was settled partly in cash and partly in goods, including tobacco.

Whether that agreement constitutes a final settlement on the matter is a grey area, legally. Acknowledging the issue, Cabarrocas adds: “There will be more twists and turns, but what’s important is that Spaniards don’t miss out on the changes in Cuba.”

American citizens also lost significant assets in Cuba. According to a 2007 study by Creighton University, there are certified claims worth around $6bn. Lawmakers are pressing the White House to look more closely at the issue.

However, Cabarrocas insists the Spanish owners’ case for compensation is the most compelling. “I believe we’re in a stronger position than Americans, because we’re talking about Cuba expropriating people who were mostly dual citizens, both Spanish and Cuban, so fully covered by international law,” he said.

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