Godzilla-sized ExxonMobil gets ready to stomp socialist Cuba like a bug
That didn't take long.
Mere days after President Trump lifted the waiver on lawsuits by Americans to sue communist Cuba for expropriated assets, Big Oil's Bigfoot, ExxonMobil, was on this case like Godzilla. The Miami Herald reports that it is ready to stomp Cuba:
Exxon Mobil has filed suit in U.S. federal court against Cuba’s CIMEX and CUPET companies for their use of an oil refinery and other properties seized by the Fidel Castro government six decades ago.
Exxon Mobil is the first U.S. company to file suit after President Donald Trump allowed Title III of the Helms-Burton Act to take effect, opening the way for demands against Cuban and foreign companies that benefit from properties seized by the communist government.
Title III had been suspended every six months by every U.S. president since the law was approved in 1996.
That's a monster. And it's going to cost Cuba big, if ExxonMobil wins, and ExxonMobil always plays to win, and with some of the world's best attorneys, it usually does win. The Helms-Burton law of 1996 states that U.S. companies who had their property stolen by communists in Cuba are entitled to sue for three times the value of the stolen properties, plus 6% annual interest, which, compounded over 60 years of Castro rule, is a...lot of interest. The company must have had that lawsuit ready for Trump's move, given the speed with which it was executed.
It shows just how major President Trump's act was. Over the years, much of the reporting on this matter has focused on small-time Cuban-American stakeholders who lost shops and apartments in the vast uncompensated thievery of communization, and these are people who have largely been dismissed as poor mice hopelessly living in the past.
Exxon's the elephant, though, and it never forgets.
Why do I think this will be a monster for the Castroites? Well, because back when I was reporting news, I wrote an investigative story describing ExxonMobil's response to Venezuela's expropriations. The company fought the Chavistas like the Mobil tiger in the tank — and it eventually won more than a billion in compensation. The company plays for keeps. Here is an old story I found from 2005 that ran on Page One of Investor's Business Daily, describing how ExxonMobil responded to Chavista Venezuela's attempt to steal ExxonMobil's assets.
ExxonMobil, of course, is going to be painted as a bully for doing it by the Chavista left, and it's likely the leftists are painting their signs and calling up their media buddies as I write this. But ExxonMobil has a rationale for this, because its business extends across the globe, and it doesn't get to pick where the oil is — which means it often has to deal with some very gamy dictators. Of course they have to fight the thieves among them. Because once word gets around in the global dictator community that big-moneyed ExxonMobil can be pushed around (its revenues, as I noted in the IBD piece back in 2005, were three times the size of the Venezuelan economy), all of them will jump in and try to shake ExxonMobil down for more for themselves. It's dictator nature. So for ExxonMobil, it's fight the miscreants, and keep the rest on their best behavior. It's the only way to run an international oil company. Now Cuba is about to learn that the hard way.
This is precisely what it deserves, given its propping up of the Maduro regime in Venezuela through its use of intelligence agents, incompetent technicians, and torturers. Trump's move is about squeezing Cuba to force it to get the hell out of Venezuela, and Trump plays hardball.
Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of socialist thieves.