The U.S.’s new BFF, Fidel Castro, turned 89 last Thursday. A day later, the man who ruler over Cuba with an iron hand until 2008, when he turned the dictatorship over to his brother and fellow communist Raúl, received his birthday present from the Obama administration: With full pomp and circumstance, Secretary of State John Kerry ceremoniously raised the Stars and Stripes over America’s reopened embassy in Cuba, declaring before the assembled press, “I feel very much at home here.”
So how did Fidel react to the reopening of diplomatic relations with the U.S.? By audaciously insisting that America owes Cuba “many millions of dollars” — retribution for the half-century of fiscal damage that American trade embargo did to the island nation’s economy.
Castro spoke out in an essay published in local media…. The trade embargo that the United States slapped on communist Cuba in 1962, three years after Castro seized power by ousting a US-backed regime, remains in effect despite the thawing.
President Barack Obama wants Congress to lift it, although US officials say this will take time and is not an automatic part of the restoration of ties as it requires congressional action. Many Republicans, who control both chambers of the legislature, oppose the idea, insisting Cuba has to improve its human rights record and make other democratic reforms.
Aside from the obvious human rights violations, censorship issues, and Cuba’s function as a sanctuary for U.S. fugitives, there is one tiny detail that Castro seems to have forgotten: Cuba owes an estimated $6 billion in assets seized from Americans after the Cuban revolution.
So if the White House is feeling generous, they can just let the Castro family subtract those millions from Cuba’s outstanding tab of billions owed to the United States.
Cross-posted at DeneenBorelli.com