Threats to U.S. Business Interests
Clouding of U.S. Relations With Latin America
A new wave of economic nationalism is churning in various countries of Latin America after breaking over Cuba with full force in the wake of the recent revolution. It not only has posed a serious threat to U.S. business enterprises in the affected nations, but also has damaged relations between this country and its Latin neighbors. Washington, while not out of sympathy with revolutionaries who seek passionately to better the lot of their people, hardly can ignore the legitimate interests of American citizens. But efforts to convince Cuban leaders, for example, that a fair accommodation of domestic and foreign interests would be to mutual advantage have made little or no headway against the prevalent tendency in Latin America to blame all ills on outside “exploiters.”
Continued rebuff of attempts by Ambassador Philip W. Bonsai at Havana to work out arrangements for adequate compensation of Americans whose Cuban land holdings were being seized under Fidel Castro's agrarian reform program finally exhausted the patience of the State Department. The text of a sharp note delivered Jan. 11 has not been published, but in a statement made public on that day the State Department said the note protested numerous actions by Cuban officials considered by the United States to be “in denial of the basic rights of ownership of United States citizens in Cuba.—rights provided under both Cuban law and generally accepted international law.”
The acts complained of, the statement said, involved “the seizure and occupation of land and buildings of United States citizens without court orders and frequently without any written authorization whatever, the confiscation and removal of equipment, the seizure of cattle, the cutting and removal of timber, the plowing under of pastures, all without the consent of the American owners.” In many cases no inventories were taken nor receipts proffered for the seized property.