[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: Big Bad Exiles Itching to Take Back Properties

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Big Bad Exiles Itching to Take Back Properties

Just ran across a Time article on Miami Cuban exiles "clutching yellowing deeds and titles".

Be warned, the article subtly takes a few shots at Cuban-Americans, especially at those who understandably feel bitter about having their properties taken away from them and who want to be justly compensated.

The implication that exiles would storm Cuba and automatically kick people out of their homes is disturbing.
If Cuban-Americans show up in even a democratized Cuba demanding those dwellings, they're likely to face the wrath of Cubans who tend to resent imperious exiles as much as they disdain Fidel. Says the Pentagon analyst, "The Cubans say, Screw you. You're not getting this property back."
Read the rest here.


Anonymous SWLiP said...

I witnessed this dynamic at work in post-communist Czechoslovakia, where the feelings weren't quite as raw and personal. Property restitution will be an arduous process and will leave many exiles bitterly disappointed, I'm afraid.

11:50 PM, August 08, 2006  
Anonymous gansibele said...

Robert, there was a reclamation project started by a prominent CA exile (I can't remember the name right now) some years back, aimed at creating a registry of confiscated property for future claims in Cuba. It got a lot of play in Cuban radio, etc. Now suppose you are a regular Cuban, like my sister, born after Castro, nobody who is part of the government or who got any perks or kick anybody out of their house, ok; would you look kindly on somebody coming to claim your apartment, the one your parents paid off to the National Bank and now you are paying off as well? (Mortgages do exist in Cuba, subsidized and payable to the state, but still; people pay a portion of the salaries to the bank). Now, I'm not saying there's a generalized plan or desire to "storm Cuba and automatically kick people out of their homes" but you can't say there haven't been precedents.

In other words, the premise of the article is right, digs aside; the fastest way to sour people in Cuba against the exiles is to show up claiming long lost property. Retribution, if it happens, will have to be in terms decided by Cubans, in Cuba.

Industrial property is another subject altogether. I hope Cuba's future government is smart enough to give ownership of plantations, mining rights, infrastucture rebuilding, etc; to those who know best how to operate them, be them from Miami or from wherever, former owners or not. There's also the fact that many former owners, maily American companies, were allowed to claim those losses against taxes a long time ago.

10:28 AM, August 09, 2006  
Blogger Robert said...

It's not that there haven't been precedents, but I'd be more than willing to bet the the vast majority of exile property owners would not kick someone out of a house just to get it back.

The problem with the article is the automatic assumption that exiles are going to go mercilessly after their old properties. Why is it that the majority of MSM articles paint Cuban-Americans in a largely negative light?

It bothers me, and I don't think for a second that we as a group deserve it.

5:13 PM, August 09, 2006  
Anonymous apr_47@yahoo.com said...

And who's going to claim property that is falling apart? Mind you, if you owned an apartment building, you will have lots of repair ahead of you, the way I saw many of them in Havana. How many of us are willing to go back and go through the hassle of reclaiming a home in disrepair and find the papers that establish ownership?

9:18 PM, August 09, 2006  
Anonymous gansibele said...

apr: Apparently the over 500 people who submitted claims to the registry. Real estate is real estate, if it's crumbling much better, demolish it and build a brand new condo building. I don't think there will be a shortage of claimants.

Robert: even if they don't kick them out of the house... what, should they pay a new mortage? Rent? Two wrongs won't make a right. As a Cuban, I think it'll be horribly unfair to saddle a future Cuban government and society with retribution, especially in the early years; as an American citizen and taxpayer, I don't think we should bankroll those retributions. I feel exactly about this as I feel about African Americans asking for reparations: yes it was horrible your ancestors were slaves, no you don't get a penny from me.

Why the MSN portray Cubans in a negative light? I read the Time article and I don't see the generalization. It does call castro a communist dicator, it describes the arbitrary and brutal confiscation process, even says Che locked some property owners in a room until they signed away their rights. I think in this particular case you are being oversensitive. Now, yes, the media tend to say "castro is bad, exiles are just as bad". Part of it is that they have taken the castro propaganda kool aid, part of it is that, let's face it, Cuban Americans have been very effective at political lobbying but horrible at PR (unlike the Jewish/Israeli groups for example). The dislike for the press, from Matthews on, is pervasive among exiles (ironically, since Cuba had a very vibrant press that always played a big role in Cuban society). To say the press should be impartial and report the truth is naive; there are as many truths as players in a story, and reporting can always be influenced and manipulated. castro just has been better at it.

10:17 AM, August 10, 2006  

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