Look at the numbers: Payment of $7 billion in claims against Cuba is not
November 8, 2015 12:00 AM
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
The writer is distinguished service professor emeritus of economics and
Latin American studies, University of Pittsburgh.
Source: Look at the numbers: Payment of $7 billion in claims against
Cuba is not realistic | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette –