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Pompeo: US will now allow citizens to sue Cuban government over lost property


Thousands of these claims have already been filed

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that U.S. citizens will now be able to sue the Cuban government for property that had been confiscated.

Here's what we know

Since the 1996 Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act, Americans have been banned from suing the Cuban government for property that was confiscated by the Cuban government. This includes Cuban Americans who had their property stolen before fleeing to America.

Pompeo told the press on Wednesday that the Trump administration believed the time to repeal this law was long overdue:

[J]ust as we did in regard to moving our embassy to Jerusalem, the true capital of Israel, or designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for what it is, a terrorist organization, the Trump administration recognizes reality. We see clearly that the regime's repression of its own people and its unrepentant exportation of tyranny in the region has only gotten worse because dictators perceive appeasement as weakness, not strength.

Pompeo accused former-President Barack Obama of playing "footsy with the Castros' junta." He said that these policies "did not deter the regime from continuing to harass and oppress the heroic Ladies in White, a group of women dedicated to peacefully protesting the regime's human rights abuses." He also listed off injustices committed by the Castro regime, including "2,800 arbitrary arrests in 2018 alone" and "the country's recent sham constitutional referendum."

Pompeo said that by ending the 1996 restriction, the administration was "holding the Cuban Government accountable for seizing American assets" and "helping those whom the regime has robbed get compensation for their rightful property," as well as "advancing human rights and democracy on behalf of the Cuban people."

The new guidelines go into effect on May 2nd. Pompeo said that Congress had already been notified about the changes.

According to the Associated Press, there are currently around 6,000 of these claims that have been certified by the Department of Justice, and another 200,000 uncertified claims.

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