Pompeo: U.S. Lifts Ban on U.S. Lawsuits Against Foreign Firms in Cuba

WASHINGTON (AP) -
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference at the State Department in Washington, Wednesday. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The United States on May 2 will lift a ban on U.S. lawsuits against foreign firms doing business in Cuba, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday.

“Any person or company doing business in Cuba should heed this announcement,” Pompeo said at a news conference.

President Donald Trump is stepping up pressure to isolate embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who is holding power with help from other countries, including Cuba, China and Russia.

Pompeo’s decision gives Americans the right to sue companies that operate out of hotels, tobacco factories, distilleries and other properties Cuba nationalized after Fidel Castro took power. It allows lawsuits by Cubans who became U.S. citizens years after their properties were taken.

Pompeo says, “Those citizens’ opportunities for justice have been put out of reach for two decades.”

Word of the move prompted stern responses from Canada and Europe, which have vowed to protect their businesses from lawsuits.