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IUITli: 205

September 20, I 99S
SC11ntor W. Cohen
United States Senate.:
Washington, I) r.. 2051S
Re: "Th<' Cuha Liberty 1111d Dtmo('1'1III<' SoliJuily J\C'f'

Dear Sen:11or·
My dicnt Amstar, along with lhouso..nd~ of otl\Cf ll S c:iti;cn hoh.h:1 s 01· dai,m
ccrlilied against Cuba in the J960's by the Foreign Claim~ Scltkmcnt C-Ommi:.sion, ,viii
suffer devaMating economic injury if T1tlt- 111 of Scnulo1 I lclm' i; bill (forr11('rly S :;is I) is
p?.s~e<l 11~ w1 nmendme:nt 10 th~ l'orcign O~ntions Appropria1ioM !!ill. 11 i~ foi this
n::a~un 1h01 J am writing.

It is absolutely fal~c th11t Title JIJ hAs been revised in w11ys lhnl m:ilce it 110 tense,,
violative of both intemationul lnw and the right& anrl inlcrc~t:1 of U.S. ci1izens holdine,
claims cerrifie~ against Cubn pursu~nt to the J964 Cuhll Claims /\ct. As you know, ·1 itlt11 I ?.!lows h1w~uilS 10 be brought in the cou1 aiainst Cub:i 11nd privinc indivi<lo.1is
c.iLhcr living in or doing>: in lllllt coullll)' with respect 10 rropcnic.~ taken Ii urn
1heir owners for the mml µw LLhirty-five years l\go. J>amllgc.'< 1ll'c rcc.;uvcll\l.,lc itgainst Cuba
and other:< fu1 L1cble the current valut- ofTho:1c p10~, tics. Contrary to intcrnAtional l"w.
it milkes 110 di.tforence unrler Title Ill whc:ll1er ~ litig11nt was ii U S citi1.1.,i 111 lite ti111c the
property in Cuba \Vc\.S taken. lnd.::ed Title Ill is specitic.\lly designed tu ll,iv1: subsequemly
naruralizod Cuban Amcric1111$ s1.ntulOl)' lawsuit righrs ag11ins1 Cuba o!' 11 type we as .t
nation h.av~. never hcforc given anyone else - even tho.~c who wc1 c U.S. citi1.en~ at lhl'
time of their foreign propetty losses.
Title Ill ofScriator Helm'i; 11mcntl111ci1\ will produce !he followins con~cqucnct::. if
en11c.ted in iU pre,:enl form:

* Our federal courts will be deluged in CUbll-1clntcd litigation. On August 2S,
199S the Nal/()(IU/ Low J()Unml (attached) rcponed rlw - 430,000 lawsuits are to
be expected from Cuban A.n'l«icans if Title m ii, cnaclcd. According to judicial Impact
anal~tli i1t the Administrative Offic.c of the US. Courts c11ch of these suits will average












$4,500 m costs, whether they i:io to trial or nol. 1'hctcforc tlte .1dmmis11 ttriv<" com tu th<'
court:1 lllono of Title HT will reach nrarly S2 billion

* lf we. enact Title Ill tho~c ~,'Jl I cl.iinwnt.~ ~rtific::d under rhc l%'1 C:ul:>1111
Claims Act will see their prospects of rcc.oved11K e<1mpensalil)11 from .1n imp<>V<'Jrshcd
Cuba dilutw to vinually nothing in 11 seu of Cuban American ,faims (To put rhi:. m.\ll('r
i11to Cllnlext, the Dep.1nme111 of Slate has ~1irrn1red Cubnu Amencan IJl<>J'ICfl)' claim.~ 111
nearly $95 billion). 1t is critical that it be understood that a clllim ,.crtified hy the Foreign
Claims Settlement Commission cousticutes ~ pruperry interest I lf Congi1:s..~ cn:1c1s Tirh~
l1l wit.It the foreseeable cft"oct of uc:-:troying the v11lue of the S6 billion (accordmg to S11M
DepAtUncnT liglires) in claims helcJ hy America11 ci1i1.cns. it ~hn111c1 expect to inde11111ifx
chose citi:tcn5 somedtly, under the 1:;nh /\rncndmcnt's .. takin~ clause", 10 the full anlOlJIII
of 1hoir economic injury. If Title lU i~ made l.iw, the AmeiiC11n taicp~yc, will quite'.
p,ohably somlXltty dt:m11nd 11.11 c.:.xpl,1nation tts to how 011 e11rth he or shc h11~ b<·l'll fv,c<Xi 10
step iuw The shoes of tho Cuvttn ~ovcrn111c11t and com~n.<>are U.S. companie$ 1111d
individuals for their property losses in C.uhil over tltli Ly-five ye:11 s 11go

* If wc violAte intcrnatioo11l l.:iw llncl long-s1a11cJine U.S. 11<.lherenoe 10 thllf l.1w by
en.1cting Title 111 and conferring rct1 ou.tive righl.:1 upon ll1J1t· lJ. S. n.,1io11als :11 1ime vf
foreign properly losses, history ttlls us lluit we will 11CJI ht:. pcrmhtcu 10 stop with <.'uban
A.meticun~ The equ1tl protcc1io11 provi$ions o{ the Constiluticlll will 11ot rol<'J'lltc li111it1nt
the conferral of 511ch lltl impnrtAnt benefit .\S a fed1.ial richt of action on only one of ou1
m:iny 1111tion<1I· origin groups \ltbo~u members hitve suflercu p11~t foreign propl•rty lussc~ If,
u will su,cly happen, 11 former South Victname:ic .1rmy offic<.:r who is now ll Lt.S. cilizP.n
~ies in order to gain the s.1me right actorded Cuban Amci icans to rccovt".r da1n~~cs for
property c-.<propriations he suttetd. who. if Tille lll is crn1r.ted, is pr~pared tu 11,1y he
should uot have such n right? 011 wltnt principled basis would such ~ right be de11iccl him if
given by Congress lo Cuban Amcrir.ans'! Wluu about Chinese I\J11crir--'n$, Hungarian
Ameri~ns. Iranian Americans, G,c<:J.: An1eric1rn~.. Paleslini.1n AtnCJ iciln~. Rus.~i:in
Amcri~ns. Polish AmeriCllll~? Are we ~oing to clciu1 :nirprise when tile court1, ttJI us tl111t
the equiu protection of laws r~uiremcnt of the C<>nslitution ma.ndntt..1' thAt e.1ch of these
national-origin sroups tt..-ceivo the :111me vf action 4gain~t th~ir fo1111cr governmcng
that we aro propo~ns to give CubAn /\mcri<=-'n:i by virtue of Title ll P How many such
suits might wo then expcGt from these olhcr ~tion:il-origin group:<., and ~t what cosl to
hoth the 1111tional treo.sury and our relations with tho mru1y countries thar will cud up being
sued in our federal courts? lt rou11t also be kc...-pt in mind that U.S. comp.,nies ll111r have
, invc.~ed in vwiaus coualri~ .where our naturaliic.xi citizc1lll h~vc rroµ1.:ny d4illl) (e ~.

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{/11ifr:d Sl~lt.f, 4 ('(. (..'!.

,~·,t. tkni•d 474 U.S. 909 (l9l1S).

23 7, ( 19:S:l) qffd. ""'"'· 1<,!, 2d SQ (fed.Cir. IQ!:4),

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Vietnam) will be held liable for ~o-callcd ·1ra!licki11~" i11 thus..: duirrn:J 111uµc1 u1:~ if 'Jilk
111 is enacted and c:<t1:1K.!cd w11::1tiluliu11ully lo other 11,Hional-orig111 !:,rOup~ ..

* The multitude of'lawsuits thllt will be iilcd pursu<'lnt 10 TIiie Ill will ov1"1 11ml'. hr.
conwrtcd to finlil judgmcms a~.unsl Cuba, AJ'ld a.s such will C<mstilutc d runnmg s,i1 ~·
prohlc.:rn for lhe Uniled States. Title 111 l:i.wsuits are explicitly made nondlsm1ssiblc. The
f~cl of hw1dreds of 1housai1ds of Cuban American judgment creditors against Cuba w1ll
m~c il impossible for us to normalize relations with c1 lhendly eove, n111tn1 111 1h;11
country. Aircraft and ships would be seiztd, Cuhan ai-.,;er~ in rhc ll.!'i. h11nking ~ymcm
would be AIIAC'.hM, SMcill produced in Cubu woulu be cxcculcd upoo wh1:11 lhcy u11 ivc i11
U.S. JXJlt:i - i .11 in putsoil of 1e.x>veJ'y of billions of dollars in fodcr:d coun awdrds. Thl·
population of Cub~ (the rru1jority of whom were nor even hom when rhe pr<lrenie~ of rhe
Cuban American judgment cr~ditms were tak1.-n) will bl.: imlcutuml Cur dccudcs lo cum..:
to the judbrments cnter\!J 1181iinsl thci1 counlt v 011 ou, fc&:1 nl coun dockets. I lo"' is such a
llll!.lc of affair:i cornlucivc lo a 1cconciliiuio11 \>et ween Cubans on lhe i~land :md 1he
conununily of1he United States?
The altemauvc lo the pcnn:incnt cslrnnsement 1'i1le Ill l.iwsuits will produc1'
between Cub~ and the United S1a1c.s would or couri:e he tC1r ;i lJ s rresid<--nt tC' ctismisr
the judbrmcnts c;nlcrcd li,l(liinsl Cuott. Notwi1hslll11di11~ tlK: 1JH.>hil>ilio11 ui,:ai11sl s11d1
executive branch action contained in Title lll, it is probable that 1hc courts will uhim,11dy
uphold the dismissals i\S a Jeeitim,m exercise ('If !hi'. prl'.~intnti;il prl'rog;itiVI' f<l ronrl11r1
foreign i1I'fairs.' What then?

The creation of a cause of action by ,s obviously not a trivial m:11tcr.
I Jundrcds of thousands of Cub.10 Anicricans will quite propt.rly ,wail lhemsclvcs ol lhc
right of 11ction to he given lh1.m hy 1'itlc ll 1 'I hcsc ca~c:; will rmcccrl incxnr.1hly T<l rini11
judgments. (There rell!ly no defenses ov£tllablc lo Cuuo undc.- Tille lll. ll is u )hi..:l
liiibility stawtc). As tin11l tedcral court judsn,cnts the.y will c"ny the li\ith and credit of the
Unilod 8UVC111rn1.11t, with !ill the right~ liflU n.,nc.:dic~ c,f execution lict our in c111r
laws. Wha1 will be the consequence of lhe president e.,,.linguishing these juJ~11n.:11ls 1md
their ooncomiWlt rights of execution?
As~n. 11s in the case or ccnilled clainlc\nts, a t~.detal court judgnlatt is c1 prope11y
inlcrc,t prutcctc<l by the Constitution. Tfthat intcrc~ iA cxting11ii1hed hy prl"!~1rlf'.n1i"I 01·der.
the Fit\h Amendmem "la.kings clause'' with ils duly of Cull compc11.'ialiu11 will he triggem!
If Title III is enacted ii should be with full knowledge thn.t CQ11k1 c:i~ 11111y sumcd11y be
asked by the public tn explain how the Amr.rk~'\n peopl~ came ultim:irely to be li:ihle fo,
tcru ofblllions of dollars of d:im11ges in recompense lo n g,oup ur nun-U.S. Mtionals al

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the tune they lost propcrtil:j in Cul.,11 3 lu u vc:liod of<ed concern for potcn111d
14uvCCTu11c111al liAbility under the 111kin~~ cfause of the Fifth Amendment, Title JIJ should b~·
~pproached wirh the gre.atesl Cllulio11 1111d )CC.:11 fo1 the li.1bili1y lime bomb th:it 1t is.

* A troubling a.~pcct of Tith; lll 1:i its co111euw1uous disregard of imernation.'.\I l.1w
As :,. nation we and our citizens benefit from inlC".truttional b,w iu a 111y1 ixd or li.11111s, sud1
as overse.\S inve~ment and intclkcluc1I p1opc.:rly µ1ulccliu11 1 1l1c snli:ly vf 0111 diplom:at\
lmll :,ove1 cisn1y over our marine resources. MMy other examples or thC' licnc:tit$ 10 th,~
United. States of 11n intern111ional mle of l11w enuld he given. How can v.-c in future:
rlemand compliance with in1crnutio11ul luw l,y 01her nations if we 11re prepMed to viol:itc
1hnt very lnw by enacting Tide lII? The proponents of lhis leci(lation h,wC" ne.v('.r

satisfacrorily answefed that fundamental question.
To conclude, ~ain proponents of Title ill from outside the. Stnaie. hxve engag1•d
in a campaign to minimize ils s.ignitkancc. lloile-0 down. ih~ir mC"~~ge i~ 1h:11 .1 vo1f. fnr
Title Ul is sn inconse.quential thing For example, they will i.ay that a litig11111 ~nnm m
will not sue C:11ha iti:.elf, hut rather .uiy 11cliu11~ 111c limited lu "1lii1d µu11y 1Jul1ickc1 s•· i11
cou.!i~ J)JO~li¢s. Let there he nu mistake OJI point. Title Ill is an unprecedented
todc:ral co1111 c-.'-'inv: progrAm again~! the nation of Cuba. Section 302 of Title Ill is plain
und unrunl,i~uous in its 111~11i11g. ll is the inesc:ipable conseque11GeS of clult mcMing th.1t
the Senate must .1ddress.
Your!> .~incrrcly,

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Rol>e11 J.... Muse

' See, P:a'!'f!,' ~ M,)()'"f;_'!....&'J:!!!1. ~-upi•. ut ~1'; ""J'huush we W111:luuc tllllt the rresidcne ~s sculcd

pctition.c:r's claims again.~ Jran, ~ dn "nt \!If~ 1h111 the sct1le1nc111 !ms t.tnulu:al.Od p;tiliuticr 's possible dwn, u~lll't ugllituC the Uni~ St11c1." (Emphasis added). Juslia; Powell, amcuninJ'. in r~• •:,nt1
disse.nli~ In f\,'ln, h.1d th~ I<\~ -rhc Oovcrn1ne1" 11UJS1 ~>' Ju,t 1.x,111pc;i1~~iu11 when 11 funhas tll¢
m1tion 's !orci311 policy goals by iwnp, as 'h,u~lninl: chips' clainis low!oll~· held Ii)· u 11:lnll'l'\:I)' kw
(ICtSOnS .:ind swjt.:;t tu tlu: juri~tiu11 of our courts.· Id. al 6?l.