When the Castro regime assumed power in Cuba in 1959, it quickly nationalized the assets of almost every foreign corporation within its borders as the country transitioned to communism. For half a century now, American companies have laid claim to billions of dollars in lost assets on the Caribbean island 90 miles from U.S. shores. Under American law, the claims have been steadily accruing interest, but the companies have never seen a penny.
It's one of many knotty issues for the two Cold War adversaries to resolve as they end their prolonged estrangement that outlasted the Cold War itself by more than two decades. Like many of the other points of contention, the claims of U.S. companies against the Castro government dredge up difficult memories, long-buried grievances, and unpleasant histories that neither side may be eager to confront.
While it's not yet clear how the mid-century claims of U.S. companies will be handled, interviews in the days since President Obama's historic policy change with those involved in the claims and experts on Cuba reveal the claims have not been forgotten by the businesses and they're not going away.
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