Old Cuban Court Judgment for Money Damages Against the U.S. Government  

A previous post reviewed the various damage claims that Cuba and the U.S. have against each other and recommended that all of them be submitted to a joint proceeding before the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague in the Netherlands.

One of those claims is Cuba’s claim for alleged damages resulting from the U.S. embargo or blockade of Cuba, which at the last session of the U.N. General Assembly in October 2014 amounted to $1.1 trillion, according to Cuba’s Foreign Minister.

On May 15, 2015, Granma, Cuba’s official newspaper, inexplicably ran an article about a judgment rendered by a Cuban court (the Civil and Administrative Court of Law at the Havana Provincial People’s Court) on such a claim fifteen years earlier, on May 5, 2000. This was in a lawsuit filed by eight of Cuba’s social and mass organizations (CTC, ANAP, FMC, FEU, FEEM, OPJM, CDR and ACRC) and was after a trial from February 28 through March 10, 2000.

The judgment on May 5, 2000, for these alleged damages was $ 64 billion, representing loss of markets for Cuban exports and loss of Cuba’s main suppliers; investments for the conversion of production facilities; increased costs of transportation to and from more-distant markets and suppliers; increased costs of carrying larger inventories of supplies to protect against supply interruptions; reduced purchases of Cuban goods by U.S. citizens and companies; increased costs associated with outdated equipment; and increased costs of alternative financing and frozen Cuban assets in the U.S.

In the same case the Cuban court also rendered a judgment against the U.S. for another $54 billion of alleged damages resulting from alleged U.S. efforts to subvert Cuba’s government, including Cuba’s costs of countering such efforts, of mobilizing Cuba’s military and of combatting U.S. alleged “biological warfare.”

I assume that this Cuban court judgment was in a lawsuit in which the U.S. did not appear and thus was what in U.S. law is called a default judgment. This judgment, I believe, would be irrelevant in the suggested arbitration of various damage claims by the Permanent Court of Arbitration as would any default judgments rendered against Cuba by any U.S. courts.

Interestingly a search of articles about Cuba in the New York Times from March 1 through May 30, 2000, did not reveal any articles about this Cuban lawsuit. Instead, there were many articles in this period about the battles in U.S. courts and public opinion over whether a six-year-old Cuban boy, Elian Gonzalez, who was in Florida after being rescued at sea should be returned to his Father in Cuba. This controversy was resolved on June 28, 2000, when he was returned to his Father.

On May 18, 2015, Elian, now 21 years old and a student of Industrial Engineering at the University of Matanzas, Cuba, was in the news again when he said to a U.S. journalist that if he could visit anywhere, it would be the U.S. to “give my love to (the) American people.”