Land or people?

I found this article in Time more than interesting. It's discussing how Cuban-American exiles in Miami and other American interests that had their property confiscated during Castro's revolution have expectations of seeking reparations for what they have lost. And it's serious.I normally take the call for reparations from slavery sought by certain hard-line anti-colonial Caribbean and African intellectuals with a dash of salt — not because I don't think that we have a right to demand such reparations, but because I believe that we haven't a hope in hell of getting them awarded to us.Still, if Cuban-American exiles and the residue of the American corporations whose properties were nationalized half a century ago can consider demanding reparations from Cuba, then hell, I'll get behind the demand for reparations for slavery.After all, what's worth more — land or people?Cuba After Castro: Can Miami's Exiles Reclaim Their Stake?

For those who don't have a subscription, here's an excerpt:Castro, who turns 80 August 13 and is, say official communiques, recovering from major intestinal surgery, last week handed provisional power to his younger brother and defense minister, Raul Castro. At first, Miami's politically potent Cuban exiles exulted in the streets of Little Havana. But when the reality sunk in that Fidel is most likely still alive — and that his communist dictatorship may well endure under Raul even if he's not — it also reminded many Cuban-Americans that their once ardent hopes of reclaiming confiscated property could be, as one Pentagon analyst says, "a pipe dream." A report last month by the Bush Administration's Commission For Assistance to a Free Cuba warns, "No issue will be more fraught with difficulty and complexity" during the post-Castro transition — even if democracy is eventually restored on the island.That is no doubt just how the impish Fidel wanted it. His stunning and sometimes brutal expropriation campaign seized homes, businesses, farms and factories from tens of thousands of Cubans and scores of U.S. corporations, assets whose combined worth was $9 billion in 1960 and perhaps more than $50 billion today. ... When Fidel offered little if any restitution, the U.S. retaliated with an economic embargo against Cuba in 1962, which remains in place today.But 44 years later, as Cuban-Americans continue to clutch yellowing deeds and titles, the likelihood of ever recovering the actual properties has dimmed like a Havana brownout. ... Still, those exiles will clamor for some sort of compensation from a democratic transition government—payments the U.S., ironically, could end up bankrolling as a major aid donor.