A Nobel Prize for Raul Castro!
Cuban dictator Raúl Castro deserves a Nobel Prize in political chutzpah: He is demanding reparations for the five-decade-old U.S. trade embargo of the island, neglecting to mention that it was imposed after Cuba confiscated up to $7 billion in U.S. properties and executed thousands of people whose relatives have yet to be compensated.
In his speech to the United Nations this week, Castro demanded “that our people be compensated for the human and economic damages that we are still suffering.” In a report to the U.N. General Assembly last year, Cuba claimed that such accumulated damages have reached $117 billion.
Castro’s act of bravado was reported matter-of-factly by most international media. I was in Mexico City when Castro made his U.N. speech, and newspapers carried big headlines about the Cuban ruler’s demand for U.S. economic reparations, failing to say even in passing that the U.S. trade sanctions had been imposed in response to Cuba’s expropriations of U.S. companies’ property.
According to the U.S. Foreign Claims Settlement Commission, a semi-independent U.S. Department of Justice agency, there are nearly 6,000 certified claims of expropriated U.S. properties in Cuba worth $1.9 billion, not counting interest. International lawyers say that with a 6 percent annual interest rate often used for decades-old claims, the total figure would reach about $7 billion.
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