What are U.S. property claims against Cuba?

In 1960, the Cuban government seized more than $1.8 billion of property owned by U.S. citizens and corporations and made no provision for the payment of compensation, as required under generally accepted rules of international law. This was the largest uncompensated taking of American property by a foreign government in U.S. history.

In October 1964, Congress amended the Foreign Claims Settlement Act and established a Cuban Claims Program under Title V of the International Claims Settlement Act of 1949.

Under this program, the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission considered claims of U.S. nationals against the government of Cuba for their property losses. The Commission evaluated and certified these claims.

Under the provisions of the Foreign Claims Settlement Act, the validity and amounts of property claims were determined, and the Commission's findings were certified to the Secretary of State for use in future negotiations with the Cuban government.

Of the 8,816 claims filed, the Commission certified 5,911 claims as valid. The Commission also evaluated international law and determined that certified claimants were entitled to 6 percent per annum interest on the value of their claims from the date of seizure. Current estimates of the total value of U.S. certified claims, including 41 years of accumulated interest, range from $6.4 billion (simple) to $20.1 billion (compounded).

U.S. claims against Cuba remain unsettled. At an appropriate time, the U.S. government expects to resolve these claims. The U.S. government does not exclude the possibility that, as part of this settlement, the Cuban government may agree to return some of the expropriated property to its original U.S. owners.

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