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WATCH: U.S. allowing suits against foreign firms in Cuba, Pompeo says

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is opening the door for lawsuits against foreign firms operating on properties Cuba seized from Americans after the 1959 revolution.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday he won’t renew a bar on litigation in place for two decades. The decision is a blow to Havana’s efforts to draw foreign investment to the island.

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.