Monday, October 15, 2007

Wills and sanctions (Updated)

If someone dies in the United States and has heirs in Cuba, how can the heirs receive their inheritance?

That’s the subject of some terrific reporting by El Nuevo Herald’s Wilfredo Cancio that describes some effective, low-profile work taking place in the Cuban and U.S. legal systems to give heirs in Cuba what is due to them.

Thanks to a Miami judge and a 2003 action by the U.S. Treasury Department, a group of U.S. lawyers is handling 1,500 cases and is able to travel to Cuba to work with Cuban lawyers to locate heirs and execute the necessary paperwork. Inheritances designated for Cuban nationals are placed in blocked accounts (the same device used for Cuban government funds on deposit in U.S. banks) and if everything works out, the heir is allowed to receive the inheritance. But not in a lump sum – Treasury allows disbursement according to the same rules that apply to remittances, $300 every three months, sent via Western Union, no matter how large the inheritance.

This policy is certainly better than completely denying heirs access to their money, and all involved deserve applause.

But why not simply tell the heirs, “This is your money, your uncle wanted you to have it, how can we get it to you?” Why should these heirs be subject to U.S. sanctions supposedly directed at the Cuban government?

Update: The article is in the Herald in English today, with the rosy headline, “Despite embargo, Cubans get what is rightfully theirs.”


leftside said...

Phil, I don't know if your feigned reaction is legit or not, but you seem to forget the sole US objective is economic strangulation, and the noose is as tight as its ever been. Millions of injustices have been committed, and more will be, as long as the US puts regime change through strangulation over all else. The US spends most of its Cuba time trying to best to keep anyting of value out of Cuba... which is why Cuba must do it's best to keep it in the country.

Phil Peters said...


Maybe I can make it clearer. If someone leaves money to their cousin in Cuba, it becomes the cousin's money and in my opinion our government shouldn't get in the way at all.