FAQs

1.- What is 1898 Property Recovery Company?

1898 Property Recovery Company (hereinafter, 1898 PRC) was founded in Barcelona in 2001, and has additional offices in Madrid and Miami. The aim of the Company is to offer the opportunity to solve the property recovery problem to families whose properties were seized in Cuba after 1959, obtaining a fair compensation or the property restitution.

2.- How does 1898 PRC work?

Our activity is mainly divided into two stages: the first one consists of family coordination, research, collection, study and validation of legal documentation, as well as an active property valuation; the second stage will occur when we initiate the appropriate strategy to obtain an adequate compensation or the restitution of the assets.

3.- Who are 1898 PRC clients?

All those families, companies, religious orders or any institutions whose properties were seized by the Cuban government since 1959, including those who left the island many years after the Revolution.

4.- How can 1898 PRC represent me in the property recovery process?

By signing a Cooperation and Mandate Agreement and the subsequent power-of-attorney when negotiations begin with the Cuban government, thus taking care of the whole process.

5.- If I make a commitment with 1898 PRC, is it for life?

No. In the event that you are no longer interested in continuing with 1898 PRC’s representation, you can cancel the contract during the first stage and terminate the mandate at no cost whatsoever.

6.- What is the cost to assume in the representation?

1898 PRC does not require any prior financial outlay, at this time or during the process. We work completely based on a success fee, so our remuneration shall consist of a 30% on the value of the compensation or the seized assets finally recovered. These fees will cover the high costs and risks assumed by 1898 PRC throughout the entire process.

7.- What is the expected timing to eventually recover the seized assets in Cuba?

An approximate scenario between 3 and 5 years is contemplated.

8.- Why should I commit myself now?

One of the key advantages of 1898 PRC in the property recovery process is the increasing number of legitimate owners represented, helping us to gain experience and strength to lead the process as a single entity, bringing together the interests of all concerned parties. In the same way, the process cannot be fully under control since there are many unknowns, such as the term of the opportunity window. Thus, given the continuous changes that are currently taking place in Cuba, it is advisable to be fully prepared in advance of any development that might occur in Cuba in the near future.

Additionally, it is worth noting that the documentation and investigation procedures that 1898 PRC must undertake are long and laborious in order to obtain de most complete file.

9.- In case Cuba decides not to resolve the property conflict and after Raul Castro’s transition of power there is a ‘status quo’ situation, what will happen to my assets in Cuba?

Cuba will have to solve this matter by social, economic and political reasons, as it will be the first interested party in normalizing the situation of a country with great potential. The country itself is aware of the need for a gradual process of democratization, to ensure the restoration of legal certainty, the normalization of international relations and economy market conditions that encourage investment and development. Current conditions (detachment of cuban youth, steps by Cuba, USA and the EU, etc.) show us that we are in the right path.

Similarly, many international studies (political and legal) confirm that the resolution of the property conflict will be one of the main issues to be addressed, regardless of the political situation we might be on.

10.- What range of resolution options is 1898 PRC considering?

According to the principles of Private International Law, the restitution of seized property will be negotiated in first instance, and should it be not feasible, a fair compensation will be pursued.

11.- How is Cuba going to deal with the flood of claims they will receive?

We understand that the process resolution framework will need to be flexible, including solutions that can satisfy both parties, as it has occurred in numerous similar processes (including East Germany, Hungary, Czech Republic, etc.). Additionally, the property restitution is a complex and comprehensive process, in which Cuba will need an experienced single partner to manage the huge number of requests to be made. That’s where 1898 PRC adds its great value. Thus, and according to our experience, we believe that property restitution will be the most likely outcome.

 

12.- In my family there are multiple heirs to our Cuban properties, what is the situation if we can’t reach a consensus on 1898 PRC representing us?

The optimal scenario is the representation of all heirs or a majority thereof, being each case individually analyzed.

13.- I think that my family owned property in Cuba, although it was not stated in a will and I do not have any relevant documentation proving it.

Being aware with the fact that having any information about the properties facilitates the process, 1898 PRC studies and analyzes each case individually, not closing any doors to the representation of the family.

14.- My family already has all of the documents proving ownership of certain properties, so what additional value can 1898 PRC provide?

The property title being documented is only a small part of the process. Our added value is reflected in our experience and professionalism in the field, through family coordination, research, collection, study and validation of the documentation, as well as the active valuation of the properties. In addition, the group that we have created through the representation of more than 340 families whose properties were seized is particularly important, providing a decisive strength position and bargaining power. Finally, it is very likely that Cuba will need to focus on the process through a single partner that brings together the interests of all concerned parties.

15.- What would happen if there are tenants living in my house in Cuba, and in the future I have the right to my property recognized?

It is a proven fact that in other countries where the property conflict has been solved, both ownership and possession of property were restored, being in each case the process done differently. In some countries, possession restoration was immediate, while in others there was an assimilation period or a negotiation between tenant and landlord. We understand that a similar situation will take place in Cuba.

16.- What it is and how does affect me the Spanish-Cuban Agreement of 1986?

The 1986 Agreement between Cuba and Spain was an agreement between the two countries through which Cuba intended to compensate those families whose properties were seized. But it was the Spanish State who financed by the Public Treasury finally forwarded the compensation. However, not all the families were compensated (due to different reasons such lack of knowledge of the process, formal errors in the documentation submission, or rejection of the compensation for considering it insufficient) and those that were compensated, only received a small percentage of the total claimed amount. Thus, all families have the right to continue to demand fair compensation.

The Spanish Supreme Court itself has resolved in successive judgments that such individuals have not lost the right to claim for a full compensation. It ruled that it was a partial compensation of damages owed by the Republic of Cuba and anticipated by the Spanish State.

A recent report by internationally renowned law firm Latham & Watkins corroborates this statement.

17.- What do experts think?

Those with expertise in the field (among others, the University of Barcelona or Creighton University –Nebraska, USA-) establish that there is a solid legal basis for the claim, leaning on Private International Law and proven facts in similar situations. In the transition from a planned to a market economy, Comparative Law shows that the resolution of conflict arising from unfair wealth expropriations is a necessary factor for economic change. This is a matter that politicians are interested to solve in order to restore legal certainty, gain credibility and access to international markets. This has happened in many similar cases over the twentieth century: Nicaragua, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania and East Germany, among others.

Likewise, they emphasize that the path that offers the greatest chance of success is bringing a collective action through a single entity which has been granted the appropriate powers to negotiate and litigate on behalf of that set of claimants.

18.- Will my family’s property claim in Cuba be public?

1898 PRC maintains strict confidentiality of their constituents and thus is specified in our contract.

19.- Why should we sign with 1898 PRC?

  • 1898 PRC is the only company exclusively dedicated to the property recovery process in Cuba, currently representing more than 340 families, giving us a unique bargaining power.
  • 1898 PRC is comprised by a team of seasoned experts in international law, a top management team and a highly experienced advisory board with extensive experience in the field, all constantly advised by internationally renowned law firms and lobbying groups, among other partners.
  • 1898 PRC approach to the process has been positively validated by third-party experts such as Creighton University and University of Barcelona.
  • As a Spanish company we benefit from the protection of international law.
  • We do not charge any retainer fee nor claim any payment in advance. We work on a success fee scheme, absorbing all costs accrued along the process.