'The property was stolen by the Cuban government'

Dec 8, 2015

Re-claiming what was once theirs. That's what hundreds, maybe thousands of Americans whose families once owned property in Cuba are hoping to do.

And it's the focus of the latest round of talks between US and Cuban officials starting Tuesday in Havana.

We're talking about property that was seized after Fidel Castro's revolution in 1959. It's one of the thorniest issues that US and Cuba are still trying to resolve now that relations between the two countries are warming up. 

The Schechter family once owned property in Cuba and they have filed claims to get it back.  

Amy Schechter Rosoff is the daughter of the Americans who owned the property.

She says her family first settled in Cuba around 1902 and that her grandparents helped establish a Jewish community there. They owned a home and shirt factory. In the 1950s, Amy's parents also had a farm in Pinar del Rio. 

The property Amy says "was stolen by the Cuban government." And the story she heard was that one day her father went to their farm and was met by armed soldiers. Amy's parents left Cuba for good in 1960. 

And last Amy knew was her grandmother's home was occupied by the Chinese ambassador.  

The Schechter family has three claims on file. "It would certainly be an incredible thing to get that part of our family history back. The house was quite a legacy in the family," she says. 

 

 


From PRI's The World ©2015 Public Radio International