Last week I noted a statement, “The People’s Path,” issued by Cuban dissidents from across the ideological spectrum. In it, the dissidents place their political message in the context of the debate and changes taking place in Cuba today, arguing that deep changes are needed but should be preceded by a political transformation.
The dissidents included a clear message on the future of residential property in Cuba – not a comment on the government’s plan to allow Cubans to sell their homes, but a message to Cubans abroad that they should forget about reclaiming their former homes:
“Every Cuban will have the right to continue living in his house and no one will be able to evict him, nor take away or deny him his property or real estate that he inhabits legally, nor demand any compensation at all by virtue of being the previous owner of the property.”
I don’t know what prompted this, but it is a clear rejection of the formula in the Bush transition plan of 2004. That plan noted that “Castro has been telling Cubans for years that the end of communism will result in a mass of exiled Cubans returning to Cuba to claim their homes,” and proceeded to include a residential property scheme that would justify precisely what “Castro has been telling Cubans for years.” From the plan, with CRPR standing for a Commission on the Restitution of Property Rights, something the United States “could help establish” in Cuba, if asked to do so:
“With regard to claims involving residential property, in cases where the CRPR finds in favor of the former owner, temporary tenant restrictions should be permitted to avoid undue hardship on current occupants. If the CRPR finds that the property is occupied as a home, then the claimant should be unable to evict the tenants and take possession of the property for a specified period of time. Additionally, the owner will be restricted as to how much rent to charge the tenants or in the amount of any increases in their rents.”