Americans have the right to claim what Cuba’s Castro dictatorship stole from them

Americans who had their property in Cuba stolen from them at gunpoint by the Castro dictatorship have the right to claim what is theirs. To deny them that right is to deny justice. To argue against their rights is to argue against the rule of law. If you allow the rights of one to be violated today, your rights will likely be violated tomorrow.

Ambassador Everett E. Briggs and Ambassador Otto J. Reich in The Miami Herald:

Americans who had property confiscated in Cuba should be compensated

Regardless of what critics say, the US is legally and morally correct to allow implementation of the Helms-Burton Act’s Title III, which allows Americans whose properties were confiscated without compensation to sue foreigners profiting from those properties in Cuba. At issue is not the right of foreigners to invest in Cuba.

Foreign investors around the world should applaud the United States decision to provide legal recourse in American courts, since in Cuba there is neither the rule of law nor an independent judiciary that could adjudicate such claims. This is not the only case in which crimes which have occurred outside the United States may be litigated in the United States.

Those objecting to the Administration’s decision do not deny that traffickers profit from stolen American property; instead, they cynically argue that the United States should simply do nothing about it. There is an alternative for those trafficking in stolen property: to negotiate a settlement with the legitimate owners.

Let’s look at the facts. Since 1996, Americans could sue in U.S. courts foreign companies who profit from properties seized from them in Cuba. Until now every US president has suspended implementation of Title III because blocking access to the courts, it was argued, would provide time for foreign companies and governments to pressure the Cuban government to reform, such as release its political prisoners, and end its support for international terrorism, including providing safe heaven to killers on the FBI’s most-wanted list.

Those hopes have not materialized. Rather, foreigners profited from stolen properties and from Cuba’s captive labor force, which receives from the Cuban government a fraction (about 8 percent) of what the foreign company pays the communist government’s ministry that allocates the worker to each job.

In the 23 years that the Helms Burton law was repeatedly waived by consecutive US presidents, the Castro regime continued Leninist repression at home and Marxist subversion abroad. Not only did our democratic allies do nothing to press for freedom in Cuba, the opposite happened.

It is heartbreaking when business profits so blind the leaders of otherwise moral and democratic nations that they align themselves with oppressors and not with the oppressed.

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