Home > Laritza Diversent - Translated from the Spanish > Confiscation is not Nationalization

Confiscation is not Nationalization


Law Number 989 of December 5, 1961 decrees that all furniture, houses, rights, stocks and value of any kind of the people who abandon the national territory shall be understood to be nationalized by means of confiscation in favor of the Cuban nation.

Confiscation is not a way to nationalize.  That is what is stated in Article 60 of the 1976 version of the Constitution of the Republic, amended in 1992: Confiscation of goods is only done as a sanction by the authorities in cases and via procedures determined by law.

A sanction is a penalty imposed by law upon those who have committed a crime or some fault and have been sentenced by a court of competent jurisdiction.  Confiscation comes about because there is a violation of the order legally established by the authorities.

Nationalization is the expropriation of private businesses on the part of the public sector.  Generally, these are specific businesses that belong to foreigners.

Law Number 989 does not expropriate businesses or shops.  Economic initiative and activity is purely the business of the state, and national citizens are prohibited from engaging in this activity.  The state confiscates from emigrants their houses, cars, clothing, kitchen utensils, furniture and jewelry, among other things.

The purpose of a nationalisation could be determined by the subsequent use of the expropriated property. An individual, for example, could have his land taken away in order for a road to be built across it. In all cases, the loss of the economic worth of the expropriated property should be compensated.

The Cuban government uses confiscation as a means of nationalisation, so as not to provide compensation. By means of law 989, which sanctions the deprivation of property, the assets belonging to the those who emigrate from the country are seized.

The exercise of an internationally recognised human right thus becomes illicit, riding roughshod over the Constitution and the guarantees that this document supposedly affords Cuban citizens.

Laritza Diversent

Photo: 1960. Miami jeweler with a display of items brought from the Island and pawned by Cuban refugees.  Michael Rougier, Life.

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