Last week the proactive policies of U.S.President Donald Trump against the tyrannical regimes of Cuba and Venezuela started to hit them where it hurts the most:

in their pockets.

For the first time the U.S. is allowing Cuban entrepreneurs who were expropriated in the 1960’s by Fidel Castro’s regime and then went to exile in America, to begin claiming at U.S. Courts certain confiscated properties.On the other hand additional economic sanctions implemented against the Venezuelan government are deterring banks and other international companies from doing business with Nicolas Maduro’s regime.

“Confiscate it “,the late Venezuelan socialist President Hugo Chávez liked to say from the podium, mimicking the style and doctrines of his Cuban mentor, Fidel Castro, who in the 60’s launched a campaign of plunder against the thriving private sector of Cuba.  It culminated in 1968 with the ridiculous “revolutionary offensive”, through which the few private microbusinesses that remained were eradicated, or transferred under the control of inefficient state companies.

When abuses in Cuba and Venezuela are exposed, the emphasis is often placed on civil and political rights such as the right to life or the freedoms of expression, association and the press. Yet the economic damage that these regimes have inflicted on their countries and citizens, while they loot the public treasury at will, is equally reprehensible and violating of other human rights.

Article 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted in 1948 enshrined the right to private property. Thus, it sought to prevent a repetition of atrocities like the enrichment of Nazi officials by way of preying on the money, works of art, jewelry, houses and businesses of European Jews during World War II.

But for Marxist regimes private property has never been a real human right.  Karl Marx himself postulated that “the theory of communism can be summed up in one sentence: abolishing all private property.”

Now many Cubans who had built prosperous businesses in their homeland, and then had to leave the island  with barely the clothes they wore and start over from scratch in America, will be able –under the first application ever of title III of the Helms-Burton Act since it became U.S. law in 1996– to file at U.S. Courts claims on their confiscated properties, provided that they coincide with about 200 entities controlled by the Cuban military and included in Washington´s blacklist. For these Cuban Americans this is a first step towards long-overdue justice.

On the other hand, there are indications that Maduro is running out of cash. Banks and international companies are avoiding transactions with Venezuela because dodging America’s complicated sanctions is like walking into a minefield that can explode with expensive fines. Oil tankers belonging to the state oil company PDVSA are being retained in Europe and other locations because Caracas cannot pay its debts…

In Cuba, which depends tightly on Venezuelan oil and other subsidies, the shockwaves of Venezuela’s financial contraction have generated a sharp shortage of basic staples as well as omens of a new “special period”, that is, the onerous decade that followed the collapse of the USSR and its patronage.

It was also a time when the Cubans’ historic spirit of defiance awakened from its totalitarian lethargy, with nightly pot bangings, stones thrown to the premises of apparatchiks, and then, in August 1994, the Maleconazo, a massive protest of hundreds of habaneros running and chanting anti-Castro slogans along the coastline Malecon and its adjacent streets .

Something that, if Maduro falls, might well happen again.

 

 

 

 

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