As Trump reviews Cuba policy, Rubio, Nelson want 'stolen property' addressed

Tampa Bay Times

Washington - Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson are pressing the Trump administration to seek compensation for Americans whose property was taken by the Cuban government.


The move comes as Trump is reviewing policy toward Cuba.

“The U.S. Foreign Claims Settlement Commission (FCSC) has certified more than 5,900 claims against the Cuban Government for stolen property,” the lawmakers wrote to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “These claims—now valued at approximately $8 billion—remain unresolved.

“While the Cuban Government has manufactured ridiculous counter-claims to avoid responsibility, we urge you to seek fair compensation on behalf of these Americans as soon as possible. To that end, we request that you work with Congress to develop a plan and timeline for resolution of these claims, as well as consider instructing the FCSC to conduct a third Cuban Claims Program to allow for potential new claimants.”

Rubio and Nelson also express “concern” with a January 2016 decision allowing Cubaexport to renew a trademark for Havana Club rum.

“Cubaexport registered the trademark for Havana Club in the United States only after the Cuban Government stole the trademark from the original owners. The decision was a troubling development, given longstanding U.S. policy and support for the rightful owners of stolen property, and we urge you to reconsider.”

Responds James Williams of Engage Cuba:

"Mr. Trump knows better than anyone, you can't win if you're not in the game. Clearly, 55 years of severed ties clearly didn't produce results. Rolling back the recent progress between our two countries would all but ensure those Americans won't receive compensation for stolen property. President Trump has an opportunity to come to table and get a better deal for those Americans."