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Before Lifting Cuban Ban, Settle Claims

May 28, 2000

I agree that the economic benefits, both to the American and Cuban economies, of lifting the Cuban embargo would be great and that it should be fully explored ["Small Economy of Cuba Holds Great Potential," James Flanigan, April 30].

However, one aspect of the embargo is almost universally overlooked in discussions about normalizing U.S.-Cuban relations--that of restitution to American and other foreign property owners whose assets were nationalized by the Castro regime without compensation.

Many large U.S. companies had significant investments in Cuban enterprises. Many other Americans operated small businesses in Cuba, making significant contributions to the Cuban economy. These investments were all lost when property was nationalized by the Castro regime.

My mother's family held one of the many farming concerns nationalized after the revolution for which no compensation was received.

Along with many other American citizens who lost property in Cuba, we have a claim filed with the State Department. By law, these claims are to be settled prior to the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba. We hold little hope of recovering much of our claim amount, but do expect just and fair compensation for our land that was taken.

JOHN ERRATT

Garden Grove

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