The last week of July 2015 Miami celebrated the Silver Wedding Anniversary of ASCE, the Association for The Study of the Cuban Economy. Although as a lawyer I often find it difficult to understand and get along with economists, I have many good and dear friends in this quarter century old organization, most of them of that professional persuasion.
I was invited (not cost free, because nothing is cost free when you deal with the IMF) to comment on a paper written by Matias Travieso Diaz, one of the best Cuban-American lawyers I have ever met. Matias is partly responsible for my association with ASCE, because years ago, when I was first invited to join one of their conferences and wandered what my role could possibly be in the midst of so many economists -there are no lawyers here, I pointed out- I was told there was one lawyer at ASCE, and that was Dr. Travieso Diaz.
Matias has written extensively, and very thoughtfully, about a topic I have never spent much time on myself: the Cuban Claims Program under which the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission of the United States was given authority to determine the validity and amount of claims by U.S. nationals against the Government of Cuba for the taking of their property since January 1, 1959.
I had the privilege of commenting on his latest update of a subject he arguably masters to an extent few other people do. And it turned out to be, in my humble opinion, the most sensible, balanced, practical and non-ideological paper ever presented in any of the many ASCE panels I have served in (it will be published in the coming months by ASCE and anyone interested in the ongoing process of re-engagement between Cuba and the United States should place it at the very top of his/her must read list).
I have a hunch I will be writing extensively on Matias’ paper and its topic in the near future, but I also want to address here and now another good piece of writing published in Miami’s newspaper this week, authored by Mauricio Claver Carone, the Director of the US – Cuba Democracy PAC (possibly the most “effective” outfit of the pro-embargo lobby still around). [Read more…]