Granma International
April 10, 2000

Lawsuit Against U.S. For Economic Damages

            $121 billion USD demanded in compensation

            • In the last 40 years, Cuba was faced with two major events which seriously affected
            its technological base. The first began in 1959, when supplies from the United States
            were interrupted. the country’s m

            Hearings end, verdict awaited • United States’ civil responsibility confirmed in the
            economic warfare wages against Cuba • Lawyers from the eight social and mass
            organizations filing the suit base their claim on testimony by more than 100
            witnesses, 33 expert reports, extralegal confessions, 40 documents declassified by
            the U.S. government and public statements by U.S. presidents

             BY RAISA PAIGES
            (Granma International staff writer)

            • THE fact that 294 fishing boats, 78 airplanes, 135 urban and rural schools, and 63
            Cuban embassies and consulates have been the targets of terrorism acts and
            sabotage, encouraged and financed by the United States over the last 40 years,
            would be sufficient to put that government on trial. But that is just one side of the
            economic war unleashed against the island starting on January 1, 1959, when the
            Revolution crushed the Batista dictatorship that had taken the lives of 20,000 Cubans.

            This was proven at the public hearings in which evidence was presented related to
            the civil lawsuit for economic damages. The lawsuit was filed by eight social and
            mass organizations in Cuba on January 3, in City of Havana Province’s Civil and
            Administrative Court.

            The four lawyers representing the plaintiffs provided evidence regarding the 23
            charges filed in the lawsuit through statements by more than 100 witnesses, 33
            expert reports, information provided in 40 documents declassified by the U.S.
            government, public statements by U.S. presidents and other proof. The jury is headed
            by Rafael Enrique Dujarric.

            Disney Cabrera Zayas, one of the judges on the panel, stated that this lawsuit is a
            historical and legal continuation of the lawsuit for human damages filed against the
            United States in 1999. He pointed out that while the human damages are
            considerable, the loss and damage resulting from the United States’ economic
            warfare is also significant in terms of the number of victims and the deterioration of
            the Cuban population’s quality of life, resulting from the destruction of development
            plans and acts of sabotage against economic and social targets.

            Although the U.S. government never refers to its aggression against Cuba as a
            "blockade," but rather as an "embargo," a euphemism through which it hopes to
            cover up the scope of its dirty and illegal policy, it was proven that—contrary to the
            propaganda presented in that country against our island—it is the United States and
            not Cuba that must make amends for its wrongdoing.

            The nationalization of foreign properties on the island was carried out in accordance
            with international law, and the only country that did not accept compensation was the
            United States, which demanded unfair conditions for a poor country that throughout
            history had been exploited and plundered, precisely by those who were now
            demanding a "quick, effective and suitable" compensation.

            There is not a single economic sector, branch or activity on the island that has not
            suffered damages resulting from the blockade imposed by the United States, and this
            has exerted a negative influence on the Cuban people’s quality of life, the plaintiffs’
            lawyers insisted.

            Lawyer Tania J. Manzanares asked why a child, just because he or she is Cuban,
            should not have access to the best health care technology available in the United
            States. She added that many U.S. institutions and agencies recognize that this policy
            violates international humanitarian legislation.

            ain industry, sugar, utilized U.S. equipment exclusively.

            In 1990, with the disappearance of the Soviet Union and the Eastern European
            socialist bloc, Cuban began a search for new suppliers and new markets. This
            reorientation combined with the blockade meant that the distances over which
            imports and exports had to be transported increased an average of 1,000 kilometers,
            resulting in additional maritime transportation freight costs, food prices and other

            The approval of the Torricelli Act, attached to the 1992 Defense Budget, intensified
            the blockade by prohibiting branches of U.S. corporations located in third countries
            from trading with Cuba, imposing sanctions on countries that provide economic
            assistance to Cuba, and reactivating and intensifying sanctions against ships that
            transport goods to or from Cuba.

            The most dangerous and notorious escalation of the United States’ economic warfare
            against Cuba was the implantation of the Helms-Burton Act in 1996, aimed at
            stemming the tide of foreign investments in Cuba, through various kinds of
            intimidation and extraterritorial measures.

            Furthermore, not only has there been an economic, commercial and financial
            blockade on Cuba, but also military campaigns that led to the defeat of the 1962
            mercenary invasion at the Bay of Pigs, and Operation Mongoose, which consisted of
            more than 4,000 actions against the island in 14 months, as part of the covert war
            against Cuba, explained lawyer Abel Alejandro Solá.

            From the counterrevolutionary organization The White Rose to the Cuban American
            National Foundation, the United States has organized, financed and encouraged
            opposition "with a Cuban face" to the Revolution, even though such opposition has
            lacked support from the people, Solá charged.

            A U.S. Senate committee hearing in 1969 noted that biological weapons used against
            unprotected populations had an effect similar to nuclear warfare, but with a lower
            cost, since one person could incapacitate a large part of a metropolitan population by
            simply contaminating the water.

            "It is shameful that a country which declares itself a champion of human rights could
            publicly express such ideas," noted the lawyer. He stated that the chain of biological
            attacks on Cuban agriculture began in 1962 with a contaminated poultry vaccine, and
            that the most recent attack registered was in September 1997, with the introduction
            of a rice mite.

            The U.S. policy for Cuban immigrants differs radically from the policy for the rest of
            the immigrants to that country. In 1960, President Eisenhower presented to Congress
            a proposal to provide more facilities for Cuban immigrants to the United States. The
            most insiduous fruit of that policy is the Cuban Adjustment Act, which promotes
            emigration through illegal and dangerous means. It is an open invitation to death and
            an incentive for the smuggling of human beings.

            Twenty percent of the Cuban immigrants in the United States arrived in that country
            illegally, stated Solá.

            The case of Elián González sums up the U.S. policy of hostility against Cuba during
            40 years of Revolution, he said. Given the people’s immense capacity to resist, under
            these circumstances demanding justice for Cuba means demanding justice for

            "We request that you find on the side of the lawsuit filed for economic damages," said
            Mirna Nides who, in accordance with the evidence, demanded that the U.S.
            government pay Cuba $121 billion USD for damages and losses.