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Expropriation in Latin America

January 13, 1960

Report Outline
Threats to U.S. Business Interests
Cuban Revolution and Land Reform
Economic Nationalism in Latin America
Expropriation and International Law

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.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Latin America
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Mar. 2008  The New Latin America
Jul. 21, 2006  Change in Latin America
Mar. 14, 2003  Trouble in South America
Nov. 09, 2001  U.S.- Mexico Relations
Sep. 19, 1997  Mexico's Future
Jul. 19, 1991  Mexico's Emergence
May 05, 1989  New Approach to Central America
Mar. 06, 1987  Soviets' Latin Influence
Dec. 26, 1986  Pinochet's Chile
Nov. 08, 1985  Troubled Mexico
Apr. 10, 1981  Latin American Challenges
May 05, 1978  Central America and the U.S.A.
Sep. 23, 1977  Mexican-U.S. Relations
Jun. 04, 1976  Relations with Latin America
Oct. 21, 1970  Chile's Embattled Democracy
Jun. 24, 1970  Mexico's Election and the Continuing Revolution
Apr. 02, 1969  Economic Nationalism in Latin America
Jul. 19, 1967  Guerrilla Movements in Latin America
Dec. 28, 1966  Militarism in Latin America
Oct. 20, 1965  Common Market for Latin America
Aug. 04, 1965  Smoldering Colombia
Jun. 23, 1965  Inter-American Peacekeeping
Dec. 11, 1963  Progress of the Alianza
Oct. 05, 1962  Arms Aid to Latin America
Dec. 13, 1961  Land and Tax Reform in Latin America
Jul. 26, 1961  Commodity Agreements for Latin America
Jan. 11, 1961  Revolution in the Western Hemisphere
Feb. 10, 1960  Inter-American System
Jan. 13, 1960  Expropriation in Latin America
Jul. 02, 1958  Economic Relations with Latin America
Mar. 02, 1954  Communism in Latin America
Jun. 20, 1952  Political Unrest in Latin America
Sep. 18, 1950  War Aid from Latin America
Oct. 31, 1947  Arming the Americas
Jul. 24, 1946  Inter-American Security
Jan. 02, 1942  Latin America and the War
Jul. 10, 1941  Export Surpluses and Import Needs of South America
Jun. 04, 1941  Economic Defense of Latin America
Jun. 25, 1940  Politics in Mexico
Nov. 01, 1939  Pan American Political Relations
Oct. 10, 1939  United States Trade with Latin America
Apr. 07, 1938  Protection of American Interests in Mexico
Mar. 04, 1936  Peace Machinery in the Americas
Sep. 27, 1933  Trade Relations with Latin America
Oct. 16, 1928  Pan American Arbitration Conference
Jan. 12, 1928  The Sixth Pan American Conference
Jan. 10, 1927  American Policy in Nicaragua
Dec. 27, 1926  Relations Between Mexico and the United States
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Economic Development
Imperialism, Colonization, and Independence Movements
Regional Political Affairs: Latin America and the Caribbean
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