Those who wish to sweep the rights of Castro’s American victims and decades of settled American policy under the rug often are heard to argue that Cuba is poor and lacks the resources to compensate the regime’s victims. This narrative is false.
Since seizing power in 1959, the Castros have operated Cuba as a classic kleptocracy, using Cuba’s assets and resources, including those stolen from Americans, to enrich Castro family members and their military and political allies. While the Cuban people have been denied the benefits of Cuba’s significant resources, the Castros and members of their inner-circle have been systematically using them to accumulate wealth for over 50 years.
Since 1997, Forbes magazine has featured Fidel Castro in its annual Billionaires’ Edition as one of the richest rulers in the world. And as one thorough study of the issue details, Forbes’ methodology itself grossly underestimates the commercial enterprises and resources under Castro’s control, and the wealth the Castros and their allies have amassed over the last 55 years.
Any lifting of the U.S. embargo would, in turn, result in a massive influx of foreign investment and commercial development in Cuba, which the Castros can be expected to use primarily to further enrich themselves. Like any commercial opportunity of this scale, these opportunities can be leveraged by the Castros to secure funds to compensate their victims.
In a word, the Castros have amassed tremendous wealth over the last 55 years, much of it in the form of returns on the assets and property they stole from American citizens, and would realize massive financial benefit as a result of any lifting of the U.S. embargo. This accumulated wealth and prospective financial opportunity provides ample resources for the Castros to fairly compensate their victims.