Over the years, as interest in U.S. property claims has increased and decreased, a pattern of questions has emerged. Some of the most frequently asked questions and their answers are listed below:

Q. What was the value of privately owned U.S. property seized by the Cuban government in 1959 and 1960?
A. Approximately $1.8 billion.

Q. Were the expropriations by the Cuban government large in comparison to other expropriations of American assets by foreign nations?
A. Yes. In fact, the amount of U.S. private property and assets expropriated by the Cuban government is the largest uncompensated taking of American property by any foreign government in the history of our country.

Q. How was the value of U.S. properties seized by the Cuban government determined?
A. The value of these properties was adjudicated and then certified by the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission, an agency of the U.S. Government. The total amount of claims certified by the Commission was $1,851,057,358, but this amount represents only the principal value of private property at the time it was seized.

Q. What types of corporate assets were involved in the seizures?
A. Manufacturing facilities, sugar plantations, sugar mills and other agricultural properties, utilities, hotels, wholesale and retail commercial companies; in short, every asset in Cuba owned wholly or in part by U.S. nationals.

Q. How much was lost by individual U.S. citizens?
A. About $233 million, or 12 percent of the total. In addition, about $13 million was lost by church, educational and other nonprofit organizations.

Q. Were these properties taken by the Cuban government without payment?
A. Yes. They were taken in most cases under force of arms, and no compensation of any kind was made.

Q. Since the Castro regime came to power in 1959, was any promise ever made to pay for the confiscated American properties?
A. Yes. The decrees issued by the Castro regime in 1959 for the purpose of taking U.S. properties recognized the principle of compensation, and authorized the issuance of government bonds to the former owners, but no such bonds were ever issued and no offer of payment has been made since the properties were seized.

Q. Why is it in the interest of the U.S. Government to insist upon a settlement of claims before trade and diplomatic relations are restored?
A. If the United States resumes trade and diplomatic relations without first resolving the claims issue, this might lead to future unlawful confiscations of American properties without compensation. Our government should not be sending a signal to other foreign nations that unlawful seizures of property can occur without consequence.

Q. If U.S. claims have been certified by the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission, why are U.S. corporations concerned about these claims? Isn't it the responsibility of the U.S. Government to seek a negotiated settlement of these claims?
A. It is true that it is the responsibility of the U.S. Government to seek a settlement of the claims certified by the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission. The ability of the State Department to negotiate a settlement of these claims at some future date, however, will depend largely on the Cuban government's willingness to seek a settlement of these claims which, in turn, will be influenced greatly by the desire for renewed trade relations. If Congress or the Administration should act to lift the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba before a negotiated settlement of claims were reached, then the Cuban government has little incentive to settle the claims. Certainly, the government of Cuba can not be expected to return or offer to pay for the expropriated properties unless it is to gain something in return. Consequently, any normalization of trade relations prior to the resolution of the claims issue would undermine the negotiating position of our government in seeking a just settlement.

Q. Is it likely that relations between the United States and Cuba will someday be restored?
A. It is generally believed that improved relations between the United States and Cuba are inevitable at some time in the future. Cuba and the United States have a long historical record of amicable relations preceding the Cuban revolution, and Cuba is only 90 miles from the U.S. mainland.

Q. What did the U.S. Government do in response to the expropriation of U.S. properties by the Cuban Government?
A. The U.S. Government imposed a partial trade embargo against Cuba in October 1960. This was followed by the breaking of diplomatic relations in January 1961, and the imposition of a total trade embargo in February 1962.

Q. Is the embargo still in effect?
A. Yes, with certain modifications made over the years. Direct trade between the U.S. and Cuba is still prohibited under the trade embargo established in 1962. In 1975, the regulations were modified to allow foreign subsidiaries of U.S. corporations to trade with Cuba. Enactment of the Cuban Democracy Act of 1992, however, reimposed the embargo on trading with Cuba by foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies. In addition, the 1992 Act bars foreign ships that trade with Cuba from entering U.S. ports for a period of six months.

Q. What is the Joint Corporate Committee on Cuban Claims, and who are the members of the organization?
A. The Joint Corporate Committee on Cuban Claims is a voluntary organization whose membership is comprised of corporations and individuals with claims against the government of Cuba which have been adjudicated and certified by the U.S. Foreign Claims Settlement Commission.

Q. What is the purpose of the Committee?
A. The purpose of the Committee is to communicate to Congress and the Administration the Committee's strong support for upholding the long-standing policy requiring the Cuban Government to seek return or arrange compensation for U.S. properties it seized before trade and diplomatic relations are restored, and to encourage the U.S. Government to demand an adequate settlement of these claims.

Q. How has the Joint Corporate Committee on Cuban Claims supported the rights of certified claim holders?
A. Since its formation in 1975, the Committee has strongly supported the rights of U.S. certified claimants whose property was taken from them by the government of Cuba. For more than 25 years, the Committee has been present to challenge any initiative in Washington or elsewhere that would directly or indirectly diminish the value of U.S. claims against the Cuban Government.

Q. What recent actions has the Committee taken?
A. Consistent with its efforts over the past two decades, the Committee continues to support and defend the right of certified claim holders to seek return of their properties or, if that is not feasible or practical, to receive a fair and adequate monetary settlement of their claims against the government of Cuba.
Recent actions of the Joint Corporate Committee on Cuban Claims include: continuous contacts with U.S. nationals holding certified property claims, ongoing communications with State Department officials, meetings with members of Congress and Administration officials, and Congressional testimony on legislative initiatives which might directly or indirectly affect the rights of property claimants.


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