Payment of $7 billion in claims against Cuba is not realistic

7-billionHAVANA, Nov. 8th (CARMELO MESA-LAGO)  The Post-Gazette published an article on U.S. citizens’ claims of $7 billion against the Cuban government for confiscated property (“Locals Part of $7 Billion Claim Against Cuba,”Nov. 1).
I argued that Havana would not be able to pay that sum because of the poor state of the Cuban economy, despite the positive steps taken by President Barack Obama.

Against my argument, Mauricio Tamargo, a lawyer trying to recover the claims, asserted that Cuban exports in 2013 ascended to $18.6 billion, hence Cuba has the means to pay back.

In all Cuban history, that figure has never been achieved; actually, Cuba’s National Office of Statistics 2013 yearbook (Havana 2014, table 8.3) reports $5.2 billion, 72 percent less than Mr. Tamargo’s number, 5 percent lower than 2012 exports and 12 percent below 1989, the exports peak before the severe Cuban economic crisis after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Furthermore, the trade deficit of goods was officially reported as $9.4 billion in 2013. Cuba still owes $15 billion to the Club of Paris since its default in 1986.

Finally, Havana is demanding $180 billion for damages caused by the U.S. embargo, as a bargaining chip to negotiate the $7 billion owed to the U.S. citizens.