U.S. Senators Urge Prioritization of Obtaining Compensation for Cuba’s Expropriation of Property Owned by U.S. Nationals

On June 1 U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (Rep., FL) and Bill Nelson (Dem., FL) urged Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin to prioritize seeking compensation for Americans whose property was expropriated by the Cuban government at the start of the Cuban Revolution in 1959.[1]

The Senators correctly point out that the “U.S. Foreign Claims Settlement Commission (FCSC) has certified more than 5,900 claims against the Cuban Government for stolen [expropriated] property. These claims—now valued at approximately $8 billion—remain unresolved.”[2]

Therefore, the Senators requested the two Secretaries to “work with Congress to develop a plan and timeline for resolution of these claims, as well as consider instructing the FCSC to conduct a third Cuban Claims Program to allow for potential new claimants.”

On an unrelated matter, the Senators expressed “concern with a January 2016 decision to allow Cubaexport—a company owned by the Cuban Government—to renew its illegitimate claim on the trademark for Havana Club rum. Cubaexport registered the trademark for Havana Club in the United States only after the Cuban Government stole the trademark from the original owners. The decision was a troubling development, given longstanding U.S. policy and support for the rightful owners of stolen property, and we urge you to reconsider.”


[1] Press Release: Rubio, Nelson Urge Administration to Seek Compensation for American Property Stolen by Cuban Government (June 5, 2017).

[2] This blog’s posts about these expropriation and other damage claims are listed in the “U.S. and Cuba Damage Claims” section of List of Posts to dwkcommentaries—Topical: CUBA.

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As a retired lawyer and adjunct law professor, Duane W. Krohnke has developed strong interests in U.S. and international law, politics and history. He also is a Christian and an active member of Minneapolis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church. His blog draws from these and other interests. He delights in the writing freedom of blogging that does not follow a preordained logical structure. The ex post facto logical organization of the posts and comments is set forth in the continually being revised “List of Posts and Comments–Topical” in the Pages section on the right side of the blog.

2 thoughts on “U.S. Senators Urge Prioritization of Obtaining Compensation for Cuba’s Expropriation of Property Owned by U.S. Nationals”

  1. Not clear why the US has standing in these cases of property claims in an eminent domain dispute. Why is it? Why should demands inserted by the US government be listened to? I really do not understand that.

  2. Response Regarding U.S. Expropriation Claims Against Cuba

    In the early years of the Cuban Revolution, the Cuban government expropriated (nationalized) all kinds of property owned by Cubans, American nationals and other foreigners.

    Under international law, states have a legal obligation to pay fair value to the owners of such property. In addition, states like Cuba have an economic interest in making such compensation so that they may have future economic and financial dealings with such states.

    As a result, Cuba has settled many such claims by persons from other countries.

    The U.S. has had a process in the federal government to evaluate such claims by Americans and that some, but not all, of such claims have been validated by the federal government. Cuba does not dispute that it has an obligation to pay such legitimate claims, but it may well dispute some of the claims or the amount of same. Here, the U.S. government is acting as the agent for the U.S. property owners.

    Cuba, of course, also has a problem in having the cash to pay any such claims.

    These issues are discussed in the following posts to my blog: (a) Resolution of U.S. and Cuba’s Damage Claims (April 6, 2015), https://dwkcommentaries.com/2015/04/06/resolution-of-u-s-and-cubas-damage-claims; (b) Resolving U.S. and Cuba Damage Claims (Dec. 13, 2015), https://dwkcommentaries.com/2015/12/13/resolving-u-s-and-cuba-damage-claims; and (c) U.S. and Cuba Discuss Their Claims Against Each Other (July 30, 2016), https://dwkcommentaries.com/2016/07/30/u-s-and-cuba-discuss-their-claims-against-each-other.

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