Bill Requires Cuba Resolve Legal Claims Before Easing U.S. Sanctions

Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Rubio, Vitter: Cuba Must Resolve Legal Claims Before U.S. Re-Establishes Relations

Castro regime has seized an estimated $7-8 billion of U.S. assets. 8000 active legal claims are unresolved 

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and David Vitter (R-LA) today introduced the “Cuban U.S. Claims Settlement Act,” legislation that would require Cuba to address unsettled and unpaid legal claims with the U.S.

There are between $7-8 billion in outstanding claims by American citizens and businesses for properties confiscated by the Castros in Cuba that are currently unsettled. This is the largest uncompensated seizure of U.S. assets by a foreign government in U.S. history. Vitter and Rubio’s bill would require these claims to be addressed before easing restrictions on travel and trade with Cuba. Current law that set the trade embargo requires the president to address these claims, however, President Obama has ignored this key requirement during recent negotiations with Cuba.

“Many families and entities in the U.S. and around the world deserve just compensation for the properties the Castro regime seized from them and has been making money off of to repress the Cuban people,” said Rubio. “At the very least, President Obama and any future president should force the Castro regime to pay back the people they stole from before travel and trade restrictions are eased.”

“It’s obvious that President Obama wants a quick fix, but we shouldn’t lift our embargo against Cuba without adequate assurances to protect future U.S. business. Ensuring that these legal claims are accounted for and are being settled is a must for the American families and businesses whose property was seized, and for ensuring any degree of future business with Cuba,” said Vitter. “We need a long-term plan to ensure that these families’ claims are returned once and for all.”

The U.S. embargo on trade with Cuba was implemented to protect U.S. businesses following the Castro regime’s illegal seizure of U.S. assets. Vitter and Rubio’s bill, the “Cuban U.S. Claims Settlement Act,” would require the President to include a plan to address the outstanding Foreign Claim Settlement Commission (FCSC) Cuban Claims Program in any further negotiations with Cuba. The FCSC represents U.S. nationals in legal claims against foreign governments. American citizens are prevented under current law from doing business in or with Cuba until Cuba repays its unsettled legal claims to the U.S. Under this legislation, unfinished claims must be addressed by the FCSC before the U.S. eases restrictions on travel and trade with Cuba.