A personal story of Cuba expropriating US investments
As most people know, the story of the U.S. embargo goes back several administrations. It was created to punish the Cuban government for stealing U.S. properties without compensating U.S. citizens who owned them. The embargo was later strengthened in 1996, when Cuban Migs shot down a plane carrying representatives of "Brothers to the Rescue," a Miami-based organization identifying Cubans in rafts in the Florida Straits.
Under President Obama, there were talks to resolve the issue. Unfortunately, the talks did not get anywhere because Raúl Castro knew that President Obama would never walk away from the negotiation or crack the whip on the regime.
President Trump has taken the matter to a different level. He is using these claims as leverage to get Cuba out of Venezuela.
In fact, ExxonMobil is moving forward with a suit alleging that Cuba has been using and profiting off its property seized in 1960.
"Let's roll" is all I can say.
My late uncle, or one my father's two younger brothers, started his career in Cuba in the early 1950s. He worked for a U.S. manufacturing company in his hometown. The owner, and manager, was an American, or the man they called "el americano," in that small town.
As my late uncle said, the man obeyed the law, paid his taxes, and was loved in the town. He never stole anything or worked for the CIA. In fact, my uncle does not recall that his boss was political at all.
My uncle passed away in 2010. A few minutes ago, I spoke with my mother to learn more of the story.
She recalls the man and how his wife supported many charities in the area. "Muy buena gente," my mother said, or Cuban slang for nice people.
One day, the communists "nationalized" the factory, and "el americano" was forced to leave. Eventually, the plant was shut down because nobody knew how to run it. My uncle, and a couple of other managers, left, and that's the story.
My hope is that his family will take advantage of filing a suit. He was a good man who did not deserve to be called a "CIA agent" or "Yanki imperialista."
Like this story, there are hundreds of others. Not every U.S. investment was a Hilton or ExxonMobil.