Sunday, 17 December, 2017

US Expels 15 Officials from Cuban Embassy After Bizarre Attacks

US to expel nearly two-thirds of Cuban embassy staff US sources The Cuban national flag is seen raised over their new embassy in Washingt
Angelo Anderson | 05 October, 2017, 00:29

The US administration is worrying about its diplomatic staff in Cuba, the mysterious "sonic attacks" became a reason for an expelling of 15 Cuban diplomats from Washington.

The Trump administration on Tuesday ordered the expulsion of 15 Cuban diplomats after pulling more than half of its own embassy staff out of Havana last week, drawing an angry protest from the Cuban government.

Rodriguez had met with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to discuss the reported attacks and said that Cuba had implemented additional security measures to protect U.S. officials.

US investigators, including FBI agents, have been trying to determine what has caused the injuries, which include hearing loss, dizziness, tinnitus, headache, fatigue, and cognitive issues.

Tillerson said on Friday that the Cuban government had not provided a guarantee that it would step up measures to protect US envoys in Havana and that a personnel drawdown there was necessary to protect Americans.

This move comes only a few days after the State Department chose to recall non-essential personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, and cautioned travel to the island.

"The Ministry urges the competent authorities of the USA government not to continue politicizing this matter, which can provoke an undesirable escalation." the ministry added. But it wasn't until Friday that the United States ordered more than half its embassy staff to return home.

The investigation started in February, and intelligence experts told one of the congressional intelligence committees that ultrasound, infrared, or even Xray machines could have been used in the attacks, but they also said they were not sure about that information.

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We are, of course, closely monitoring and are in touch with USA, as well as Cuban authorities, and will act accordingly if anything warrants a change in our plans. We seem to be heading in the direction of a break in diplomatic ties, although I'm not entirely sure why Trump doesn't just go ahead and do it. Cuba has not commented on Tuesday's announcement. "By suspending the issuance of visas to Cubans on the island, Washington seeks to provoke discontent on the island", he said.

Earlier reports suggested sonic attacks were to blame, but nothing has been proven.

The decision announced Tuesday is certain to deepen the rift between the two countries over what the State Department has called "specific attacks" on USA diplomats during the past 10 months. "This order will ensure equity in our respective diplomatic operations".

The specific number of US personnel to leave Havana is unclear but it's about the same number of diplomats leaving Washington.

The U.S. has called the mysterious health ailments - diplomats have reported symptoms including hearing loss, dizziness, headaches, fatigue, cognitive issues, and difficulty sleeping - attacks and Cuba has said it is not at fault.

Mr Miller stressed that Cuba had denied involvement in the alleged attacks - and the U.S. had not yet explicitly blamed Havana for the mysterious high-pitched noises.

The FBI and Cuban law enforcement agencies are cooperating in an investigation but so far, neither government can say what has caused the illnesses, who is responsible, or how to stop them. We need to be smart and thoughtful in responding to these attacks. However, since Canadian diplomats were affected as well, there is a growing sense that the Cuban government really isn't involved since Canada and Cuba have long had good relations.


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