Trump to allow suits over seizures of US properties in Cuba

Trump to allow suits over seizures of US properties in Cuba
President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn as he arrives at the White House in Washington, Monday, April 15, 2019, after visiting Minnesota. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Stepping up pressure on Cuba, President Donald Trump is poised to allow lawsuits against foreign companies that have benefited from Cuba’s seizure of American companies after the 1959 revolution, a senior administration official said Tuesday.

The move marks a change in more than two decades of U.S. policy on Cuba.

The 1996 Helms-Burton Act gave Americans the right to sue companies profiting from properties that Cuba confiscated. But every U.S. president since Bill Clinton has suspended the key clause because of fears of alienating U.S. allies and complicating relations with Cuba.

The official said going forward, there will be no more waivers. The official spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the official announcement.

The Trump administration had signaled plans to end the waivers. It’s taking the step in retaliation for Cuba’s support of embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, whom the U.S. is trying to oust in favor of opposition leader Juan Guaido.

National security adviser John Bolton is expected to discuss the new policy during a speech Wednesday in Miami, which is home to thousands of exiles and immigrants from Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.

The speech at the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association is being delivered on the 58th anniversary of the United States’ failed 1961 invasion of the island, an attempt to overthrow the Cuban government.