The U.S. and Cuba may have embassies in each other’s countries, but relations are far from normal. Human rights, basic freedoms and an open economy continue to be major areas of friction between the two.
For the first time, negotiators tackled the contentious issue of reparations this week. American companies and Cubans in America want billions for property confiscated two generations ago when Fidel Castro and the communists seized power. Homes, businesses, shops, factories, farms -- they were all just taken by the revolution.
Meantime, Cuba claims America owes it billions for the crippling effects of more than 50 years of the trade embargo.
The Brookings Institute examined almost 6-thousand certified U-S claims. The author of the report, Richard Feinberg, figures Cuba can afford the payback, if the estimated $2 billion dollars of claims are stretched out over years.
“So we had a tough policy for fifty plus years and how many claims were resolved in result? How much did the claimants get back in 50 years? Zero,” said Feinberg. “So that might suggest that a different approach might get something for the claimants.”