The Latest: Spain to challenge US move on lawsuits vs Cuba

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The Latest: Spain to challenge US move on lawsuits vs Cuba
FILE - In this Feb. 18, 2019, file photo, national security adviser John Bolton speaks to the Venezuelan American community in Miami. The Trump administration is poised to step up pressure on Cuba by allowing lawsuits against foreign companies doing business in properties seized from Americans after the island’s 1959 revolution. The move marks a change in more than two decades of U.S. policy on Cuba. It could deal a severe blow to Cuba’s efforts to draw foreign investment, and spawn international trade disputes between the U.S. and Europe. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Trump administration’s position on Cuba (all times local):

7:40 a.m.

A senior official in Madrid says the Spanish government is asking the European Union to challenge a U.S. move to allow lawsuits against foreign companies operating in properties seized from Americans in post-revolution Cuba.

The move, announced Tuesday, breaks with two decades of U.S. policy on the island.

Spain, which has large investments in hotels and other tourism-related industries in Cuba, will ask the EU to challenge the decision in the World Trade Organization, a senior government official told The Associated Press.

The official requested anonymity because she wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly. She added that Spain was committed to defending its interests on the island.

Businesses from Canada, France and Great Britain among other countries also conduct business in properties nationalized after Fidel Castro took power in 1959.

— By Aritz Parra

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12:05 a.m.

The Trump administration is preparing to change a longstanding U.S. policy on Cuba.

The administration is expected to announce Wednesday that it will allow lawsuits against foreign companies doing business in properties seized from Americans after Cuba’s 1959 revolution.

A law passed in 1996, the Helms-Burton Act, gives Americans the right to sue the mostly European companies that operate out of hotels, tobacco factories, distilleries and other properties that Cuba nationalized after Fidel Castro took power. The act even allows lawsuits by Cubans who became U.S. citizens years after their properties were taken.

But every U.S. president since Bill Clinton has suspended the key clause to avoid trade clashes and a potential mass of lawsuits that would prevent any future settlement with Cuba over nationalized properties.