US Boots 15 Cuban Diplomats out of Washington

Jeannette Daniel
October 5, 2017

Mr. Tillerson said in his latest statement that they continue to maintain diplomatic relations with Cuba and that they will continue to co-operate with the country as they continue to investigate.

Last Friday, Washington issued a travel warning for the island and said it was reducing by about 60 percent its diplomatic staffing at the U.S. Embassy in Havana.

The Cuban government today blamed the United States for the "deterioration" of bilateral relations after the announcement of the expulsion of 15 Cuban diplomats from Washington, reported dpa news.

The statement explained that the move followed the mass withdrawal of American personnel from Cuba and warnings to all USA citizens to avoid the communist dictatorship, to which Americans can only travel under certain categories of visits. The attacks caused the us employees to experience hearing loss, ear-ringing, dizziness, difficulty sleeping, headaches and cognitive problems, among other symptoms.

The only blame the statement placed on Cuba was by noting that "the Government of Cuba is responsible for taking all appropriate steps to prevent attacks on our diplomatic personnel and US citizens in Cuba", implying that Cuba has failed to fulfill this responsibility.

In a move widely expected, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced Tuesday the U.S. has expelled 15 Cuban diplomats over ongoing security concerns regarding the U.S. Embassy in Havana. He called for the U.S. Embassy in Havana to be downgraded to an interests section.

USA officials said they are convinced someone has been targeting the diplomats and they are investigating whether some type of sonic weapon could have been used in the attacks.

The State Department has not disclosed the size of its mission in Cuba.

So far, 22 Americans working at the embassy in Havana have been confirmed to suffer from physical debilitations.

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Two years ago, Castro and former President Barack Obama restored diplomatic ties, ordered embassies re-opened and eased travel and commerce restrictions.

Lawmakers who had called on the Trump administration to expel all of Cuba's diplomats applauded the move Tuesday. An official said that the new victim had experienced health problems in January but only now has a determination been made that they were connected to the other health incidents.

From his perch on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. Sen. The State Department does not yet know who or what caused the health effects, and so it is not entirely clear what specific moves Cuba could take to ensure the safety and security of USA officials. The US has said the FBI is leading the investigation. Individuals familiar with the situation say it wasn't until USA spies, posted to the embassy under diplomatic cover, reported hearing freaky sounds and even stranger physical effects that the United States realized something was wrong.

According to the Hill, an official confirmed the expulsions will ensure "equitable staffing levels" while still allowing the embassies to operate, but didn't confirm if the percentage of Cubans expelled will match the USA staff that remains in Cuba.

The 15 Cuban diplomats selected by the USA will have a week to leave, a State Department official said.

Symptoms of these mysterious attacks have included hearing loss, dizziness and cognitive issues.

Investigators have explored the possibility of a "sonic attack" harming diplomats through sound waves, but have discovered no device and identified no culprit. We need to be smart and thoughtful in responding to these attacks.

The most obvious motive for attacking Americans in Havana would be to drive a wedge between the USA and Cuba.

Other reports by My Hot News

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