Cuba wants $181bn reparations from US

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The Independent Online
CUBA WANTS massive compensation for deaths and injuries caused by the United States, the ruling party's newspaper said yesterday.

In an apparent sign of hardening relations between Havana and Washington, the Communist Party paper, Granma, said several organisations had brought a legal case to a Cuban court demanding $181bn (pounds 116bn). More than three thousand people have been killed and two thousand injured by America in 40 years of "war," the paper said, citing US backing for covert operations against Cuba, the abortive 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, and alleged US biological warfare.

"All the hostile and aggressive actions carried out by the US government against Cuba, from the triumph of the Revolution [Castro coming to power in 1959] until now, have caused enormous material and human losses to the people," it said.

The timing of the claim seems to have been influenced by demands for compensation in the US for the deaths of three Cuban-American pilots shot down in 1996 by the Cubans.

Relations between Cuba and the US had been warming up, with the two countries playing each other at baseball and tentative signs of a thaw in Washington. But Cuba switched its foreign minister last month, with a loyal Castro aide, Felipe Perez Roque, replacing Roberto Robaina Gonzalez. Cuba has also come under criticism for human rights abuses, including condemnation by the UN Human Rights Commission.