Sonic Attacks Frayed US-Cuba Relations

by Joy Montgomery October 5, 2017, 0:30
Sonic Attacks Frayed US-Cuba Relations

The Cuban government said Thursday that the United States' decision to expel 15 Cuban diplomats from the country's embassy in Washington was "reckless" and "hasty", warning of increasingly strained relations between the two countries.

"The decision to reduce our diplomatic presence in Havana was made to ensure the safety of our personnel", Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement.

The US on Tuesday expelled 15 Cuban diplomats to match staff reductions at the US Embassy in Havana after the US ordered home non-essential diplomats and families following mysterious attacks on personnel there, two US officials told CNN.

"Expelling Cuban diplomats will not solve this mystery; it will not improve the safety of US personnel, but it will make it harder for hundreds of thousands of Cuban-Americans to visit their families on the island", president James Williams said in a statement.

Officials say the United States has confirmed another victim of the mysterious attacks plaguing us personnel in Cuba, raising the total to 22 Americans.

It may sound like a script for the "X Files", nevertheless the United States Department of State has warned Americans not to travel to Cuba because of an alleged series of sonic attacks on its diplomats in recent months, forcing the removal of many USA personnel from the Island.

The U.S. embassy in Havana.

The additional victim was attacked in January but wasn't confirmed to have been affected until symptoms prompted a new medical re-evaluation, said State Department officials who briefed reporters in a conference call on condition of anonymity.

Millions of Cuban families are caught in the middle with visas for Cuban visitors to the United States suspended.

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

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"American diplomats need to remain on the field and in the game".

The two countries restored diplomatic ties in 2015 after more than five decades, and USA tourism to the island has jumped markedly since then.

Cuban officials said USA investigators had visited the island on three separate occasions.

From his perch on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. Sen.

The head of Cuban diplomacy called on the USA "not to continue politicizing this issue, which may lead to an undesirable escalation, as well as weaken and further reverse bilateral relations, already affected by the announcement of a new policy made last June by President Donald Trump". The United States has not blamed Cuba, which has denied any involvement and cooperated with a USA investigation by FBI agents dispatched there. "This order will ensure equity in our respective diplomatic operations", Tillerson said, Efe news reported.

He did not comment on reports that the sonic attacks that led to this move were caused by rogue elements within the Cuban government.

"I am an optimist and hope we will return one day, before too long", Scott Hamilton, the top American official in Cuba, was quoted by USA media as saying. In addition to hearing loss and concussions, some people have experienced nausea, headaches and ear-ringing.

"Cuba has told us it will continue to investigate these attacks, and we will continue to cooperate with them in this effort", Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said September 29 in announcing the USA diplomats were being recalled home. The action announced today by the Government of the United States is related to the health incidents reported by members of the US Embassy in Havana, the causes of which are still unknown.

"At this time, the USA embassy in Havana should be downgraded to an interests section and we should be prepared to consider additional measures against the Castro regime if these attacks continue", he added.

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