It is clear that the U.S. has trade and diplomatic relations with a myriad of dictatorships around the world. Curiously the one that is among the best in terms of elevating the levels of education and health care is the one we choose to embargo.
Senator Ted Cruz went on network TV Sunday morning perpetuating the biggest lie of the 20th century that lingers to this day.
The lie is that the barrier to relations between the United States and Cuba is the Cuban Communist dictatorship that ruled the island nation since Fidel Castro took power in 1959. There are three elements to a dictatorship that are often cited as the reason for our embargo of Cuba.
Listed below, they are followed by examples of nations the U.S. recognizes:
No democratic free and open elections: China, Ethiopia, and Azerbaijan
Political prisoners: Central African Republic, Russia, Qatar
No free press: Saudi Arabia, Cameroon, Myanmar
A VERY SHORT HISTORY OF US-CUBAN RELATIONS
After Spain was driven from Cuba in 1898, the U.S. took control of the island for intermittent intervals through the 1920's.
In the 1930's Fulgencio Batista consolidated power until Castro sent him packing in 1959. By time Batista took control most land in Cuba was owned by U.S. companies. Sugar, telephone (IT&T) and other industries were controlled either by the United States or Cubans who assisted in the expropriation of Cuban land.
Poor peasants were resigned to toiling for the conglomerates and monopolies rather than working the land that once belonged to them.
When Castro took control he nationalized these businesses, taking real estate and buildings now valued in the billions of dollars. The fight is over the compensation for the seized assets that belonged to American citizens; the fight is not about the seized assets of former (like Ted Cruz's parents) or current Cuban nationals or democracy in Cuba. The Cubans are prepared to pay. The question is 'how much?' The Cubans have counterclaims: losses suffered in the Bay of Pigs invasion, losses resulting from a hijacked airplane and the subsequent loss of life, these are claims for injuries and loss of life caused by U.S. hostilities. The second collection of Cuban claims are based on the illegality of the embargo and the damage to the Cuban economy.
The best analysis was prepared by the Brookings Institute, Reconciling U.S. Property Claims in Cuba: Transforming Trauma into Opportunity.
Among those who lost property were Batista and his Cuban thugs, U.S. companies who established a foothold through bribery and theft, and legitimate Cuban families that came about their wealth honestly, and an assorted collections of mobsters:
...Already, a Tampa resident, Gary Rapoport, has publicly inquired about compensation for the Riviera, a 352-room waterfront hotel in Havana that was inaugurated in 1957 by Ginger Rogers. It was owned by Mr. Rapoport’s grandfather Meyer Lansky, the organized-crime figure.
In an interview with The Tampa Tribune, the mobster’s grandson put it like this: “Cuba owes my family money.”