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Lawsuit against the United States for financial damages

cuba demandaON May 5, 2000, the Civil and Administrative Court of Law at the Havana Provincial People’s Court rendered Judgment no.47 on Civil Case number 1, pursuant to the lawsuit of the People of Cuba vs. the Government of the United States, for financial damages inflicted on Cuba, filed by the country’s social and mass organizations.

In an assessment of the factors that make up the framework of this criminal economic war, experts and witnesses presented evidence – February 28 through March 10 – with compelling statements which demonstrated the responsibility of the U.S. government for systematic actions against Cuba in order to alienate public support for the Revolution, and thus destroy it.

The aggressive policy and its criminal effects on all economic sectors and the social life of the country were placed under scrutiny. As a result, the illegality of the blockade – indeed an act of genocide – in the light of international law was demonstrated, as well as the obligation of the U.S. government to atone for the harm caused by its immoral and illegal conduct, and to pay compensation for the damages caused.

Experts and witnesses demonstrated that since the beginning of the 60s, U.S. government measures against Cuba implied the loss of markets for its exports, as well as it main suppliers, as 70% of trade was previously conducted with the country. In industrial sectors, huge investments for the conversion of production technology were required, with the most adverse affects seen on vital production lines.

The negative financial effect caused by the distance of markets the island was obliged to turn to, in order to acquire all products (including medicines or the raw materials for their manufacture), with the consequent supply interruptions, the need to maintain large stocks and problems of transportation and operations, were all outlined.

The blockade measures attempted to prevent all maritime trade with Cuba. The banning from U.S. ports of ships of any nationality which traded with Cuba was imposed, and in force for 14 years, and after a brief period in which this policy was discontinued, the Torricelli Act in 1992 resumed it, resulting in the rising cost of freight and other damages. The evidence demonstrated the economic losses due to the ban on travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens; the refusal to allow Cuban aircraft to offer commercial flights to the United States, the inability to use the shortest routes to arrive at certain destinations, the resulting additional layovers and necessary use of technologically outdated equipment, together with many other adverse effects.

The abrupt cutoff from traditional sources of financing both within and outside of the United States, and the huge losses due to frozen assets – arbitrarily made use of – dollar exchange rate moves in foreign trade and external debt, damages due to prices and interest rates, the loss of opportunities for credit facilities and other damages to the external financial sector, were also highlighted.

In the cultural sphere, one idea was emphasized: the blockade represented the abrupt elimination of the civilized, normal relations existing between the peoples of the United States and Cuba, thus depriving both nations of the opportunity to access the best of their respective products, with serious effects on Cuban creators.

Strong testimony provided extensive evidence of the damages to the economy as part of the subversive policy of the United States against Cuba, including the huge costs incurred in order to counter it, together with the necessary military mobilizations arising from the ongoing threats of a direct military intervention, and the large numbers of people and resources engaged in the fight against counterrevolutionary groups organized and supplied with means of warfare by the CIA. The costs of the biological war unleashed against Cuba beginning in 1962 were extremely high.

On the final day of testimony, a detailed expert report evaluating damages caused by the economic, commercial and financial blockade in various spheres as well as the attacks on economic and social targets, was presented. By early 2000, the blockade had cut short 15 years worth of development for Cuba.

The damages resulting from the blockade at that time amounted to over $67 billion dollars,[ii] while those resulting from attacks amounted to $54 billion, giving a total of over $121 billion U.S. dollars. The Court ordered the U.S. government to pay reparations and compensation to the Cuban people for this amount.

* First researcher at the Center for Historical Research on State Security. Vice President of the National Union of Cuban Historians (UNHIC) in Havana.

[i] The suit was filed by the CTC, ANAP, FMC, FEU, FEEM, OPJM, CDR and ACRC.

[ii] The cost of the blockade is continually updated. In the 2014 report by the Cuban Foreign Ministry regarding Resolution 68/8 of the UN General Assembly, entitled, “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba,” it is stated that at current prices this figure had risen to more than $116.8 billion U.S. dollars. Taking into account the depreciation in the value of the dollar against gold in the international market, this is $1,112,534,000,000 USD.


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