The Spanish Government Closes the Door on Property Claims Between States

This house in Havana was the property of the Spaniard Raúl Lesteiro, according to his relatives, who are making a claim from Spain for its loss. (D.R.)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 13 May 2019 — The Spanish government closes the door on claims between states in relation to properties seized by Castro after the Revolution, and says that they should be dealt with on an individual basis, according to this Sunday’s ABC newspaper.

Sources in the Ministry of External Affairs, quoted in the newspaper, indicate that the proposal by the United States administration, “imposing an extra-territorial law cannot be reconciled with the European approach.” As far as Spain is concerned, the matter was agreed in 1986 and there is no case for reopening it.

“Cuba and Spain signed an accord between the two states in 1986, which established a compensation scheme, for those people affected, and reopening it would be out of the question,” said ABC´s source, adding that “any claim which may be lodged would have to be solely on a private basis.”

Spain and Cuba signed an agreement on 16 November 1986, through which Havana would pay Spain 5,416 m pesos (some 32.5 m Euros, in current terms) “as final compensation and settlement for all properties, rights, actions and interests of Spanish private persons and companies affected by laws, regulations , and measures ordered by the Cuban government from 1 January 1959, up to and including the signing of the present agreement,” of which a third part is to be paid in cash, and the rest in kind.

At that time, many of the potential claimants rejected the agreement, considering that the amount fixed was hardly a fifth of the true value of what had been confiscated. Others did not claim because they had no knowledge of the pact.

Two decisions of the Spanish Supreme Tribunal supported the accord although they added that it did not affect the “hypothetical right of any individuals to reclaim confiscated property, or receive fair compensation, either from the present, or a future Cuban government.”

According to ABC, there are some 450 Spanish families forming the 1898 Compañía de Recuperaciones Patrimoniales, who hope to recover what was stolen.

Translated by GH


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