Cuba Owes U.S. $7 Billion For "Forgotten" Property Claims, Lawyers Propose 10% User Fee

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Fidel's gov owes U.S. citizens more than $7 billion, lawyers say
​When Fidel Castro swept down from the mountains and routed Fulgencio Batista's forces, one of the first things his revolutionary regime did was to seize the property of American citizens and companies.

In the more than 50 years since, nearly 6,000 American citizens have filed certified claims against the Cuban government for more than $7 billion in property. Now two lawyers in D.C. have a plan to finally start recouping that money.

"All the commerce going on between Cuba and United States at the moment wasn't supposed to happen until these claims were settled," says attorney Mauricio Tamargo. "There is over $2 billion of commerce per year in remittances and travel. That commerce should pay a user fee for the privilege of using stolen American property."

Tamargo knows all about the claims process. He was chairman of the U.S. Dept. of Justice's Foreign Claims Settlement Commission for eight years until returning to private practice in 2010. He says the 5,913 claims vary from a bicycle commandeered by the rebels in 1958 to large plots of land taken from U.S. companies.

"American complainants have been waiting for compensation for roughly 55 years," Tamargo tells Riptide. "They have been forgotten. And the delay makes a mockery of international claims law."

He and his business partner, attorney Jason Poblete, argue that the unresolved property claims are the original sin behind half a century of legal and diplomatic wrangling.

"The whole embargo was started over property being taken from American citizens," he says. "Over time human rights and democracy issues have grown more and more important."

Tamargo proposes at least a 10 percent "user fee" on all business -- mostly agriculture, remittances, and travel -- between the two countries to fund the unresolved complaints. That translates to between $100 million and $200 million per year. Such a fee is only fair, Tamargo says, since "every person visiting Cuba or sending money through the wire are using their stolen property."

He also points out that the Cuban government already taxes remittances and travel to the island. Congress would have to vote for the U.S. to impose a fee.

One potential problem: the fee would affect mostly poor Cuban-Americans either visiting their families in Cuba or sending their relatives money. Yet it would benefit mainly powerful American corporations like sugar companies.

But Tamargo says that a user fee is the only remedy. A much bigger battle looms if/when Cuba's communist government fails completely.

"When the Iron Curtain fell, many countries went through this reformation of their conflicted properties: East Germany, South Africa, Poland, for example," Tamargo says. "Some day that will have to be done in Cuba. It will be chaotic."

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes. Follow this journalist on Twitter @MikeMillerMiami.
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colorado disability lawyer
colorado disability lawyer

 The VA expects almost 6.5 million patients will use the agency for their health care during the next fiscal year. The President's budget includes a medical care increase of about 4.1 percent over last year to $52.7 billion. These increases include upgrades in funding for mental health care and gender-specific health care for female veterans coming home from war, according to the VA.

curt9954
curt9954

 Those Amercans who had buisnesses in Cuba before the revolution gpt exactly what they deserved. Those are the chances you take when you take potential jobs out of the U.S and givr them to foreigners who work for slave wages . This was an early example of outsourcing jobs .This was the best thing the Castros have done. Right on!.

BadDude
BadDude

mmm so this been going on for yrs, and the united state didn't care to collect.

No guts
No guts

Why is it that no Cuban has ever had the courage to kill Fidel Castro or his brother? Do Cubans secretly like being slaves?

Guesty
Guesty

Cubans have tried to go after Castro, many a times, within the island and from outside the island, however, Castro, either, has always been one step ahead of them, especially, within the island as everyone in there is a spy, if they know what's good for them, or from outside the island with the help of foreign government politicians whom he's bought and paid for as well as his spy apparatus.  Come on now, let's try to be a little more informed about the comments we make before we, actually, make them.  Just my 2 Cents worth.

CUBAQUS
CUBAQUS

Not the way to go.Make the regime pay. Don't punish people.This guy is in it for the money. His money.

Harbourcay
Harbourcay

Now let's figure how many billion the US owes Cuba--- for what?  Well, we hired, trained paind and transported a mercenary army to invade Cuba, we trained Luis Posada Carilles and Orlando Bosch and they blew up a Cuban civilian airliner killing over 70 young cuban athletes, and the CIA in the 1970's introduced African Swine Fever into Cuba, resulting in the extermination of every pig on the island----in other words, germ warfare.  We have had a 50 yr economic embargo trying to starve the Cuban population into revolution---- when are the Miami Cubans going to learn, Castro won--- you lost--------- get over it!Capt Jim

Eduardol1
Eduardol1

Back in the sixties, the United States Internal RevenueService authorized the deduction of any looses in the Republic of Cuba fromU.S. taxpayers. When none U.S. citizens began clamouring for like relief fromthe U.S., the U.S. tried passing the bill to the new Cuban government. TheCuban government responded that they would gladly consider ALL claims ofrestitution from the people of the United States of America and it’s government,if the government of the United States would likewise consider the restitutionof at least SOME of the claims of restitution by the people and government ofthe Republic of Cuba from the United State Government dating back from 1898 andincluding the two billion dollar claim that Cuba has had pending in worldcourts for losses incurred during the U.S. invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigsand the confiscation of the 28,800 acres of land that comprise Guantanamo Base.Not to mention the tens of billions of dollars in damages caused be countless actsof aggression against a country that the United States has had no declarationof war against.  

Vpazromero
Vpazromero

I don't see why it would be "chaotic" as yousay. If no one has had the balls to go after the communists dictator, why"a much bigger battle looms if/when Cuba's communist government failscompletely? The new Cuban Democratic Government will not and shall not beresponsible for all the confiscations, atrocities, expropriations, murders etc.the communist have inflicted in Cuban nationals or foreigners. The New CubanGovernment shall mediate and look for settlements on all these claims; howeverno compensation shall be the responsibility of the New Cuban Government. Goafter the dictator's family wealth; it has been stolen from Cubans andforeigners alike. Go after their investments in Spain, Chile, Venezuela,France, Switzerland, I forget how many other countries they have used to investtheir rape of Cuba. Go after that money!!!

Daniel
Daniel

 This guy must be day-dreaming. Congress would never pass this bill. First it violates the No-New Taxes Pledge the Republicans signed, and it would put taxpayer money in the pockets of big corporations, a non-starter for most Democrats, especially in an election year. And the overt hypocrisy he uses to justify this tax is unbelievable. He wants to steal from Cuban-American taxpayers in order to compensate for the theft for which they had nothing to do with more than 50 years ago. Someone get this guy a straight-jacket.

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