Attacks have seriously harmed 22 U.S. diplomats in Cuba.
President Donald Trump’s administration has expelled 15 diplomats from the Cuban Embassy in Washington, D.C., due to the mysterious attacks on U.S. diplomats that have caused major health problems. From Secretary of State Rex Tillerson:
On October 3, the Department of State informed the Government of Cuba that it was ordering the departure of 15 of its officials from its embassy in Washington, D.C. The decision was made due to Cuba’s failure to take appropriate steps to protect our diplomats in accordance with its obligations under the Vienna Convention. This order will ensure equity in our respective diplomatic operations.
On September 29, the Department ordered the departure of non-emergency personnel assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Havana, as well as all family members. Until the Government of Cuba can ensure the safety of our diplomats in Cuba, our embassy will be reduced to emergency personnel to minimize the number of diplomats at risk of exposure to harm.
We continue to maintain diplomatic relations with Cuba, and will continue to cooperate with Cuba as we pursue the investigation into these attacks.
The administration kicked out two diplomats in May due to the illnesses, but officials decided to add more as the list of those affected continues to grow.
This move comes only a few days after the State Department decided to recall non-essential personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, and cautioned travel to the island. This cut the staff by 60% and we only have 27 people left at the embassy.
No one knows what or who caused the attacks. Obviously Cuba remains the main suspect since the attacks occurred on the island, but Canadian diplomats have also been attacked. Canada and Cuba have always enjoyed a war relationship.
Cuba also allowed the FBI to enter the island to investigate:
F.B.I. agents who had been allowed entry to Cuba have not been able to find the causes of the illnesses. As part of their investigation, the F.B.I. has also visited the homes of the American diplomats and reviewed security footage, but found nothing suspicious. Investigators have been unable to duplicate in a lab the effects the diplomats have experienced.
Some in the government believe the Cuban regime, but the health of our diplomats and their families remain Tillerson’s top priority.
The State Department added one more affected person to the list, bringing the total to 22. From The New York Times:
Of the people who have become ill, 17 were government employees and four were spouses. Three of the spouses worked at the embassy. For some, the injuries appear permanent, with symptoms including hearing loss, dizziness, tinnitus, balance and visual problems, headache, fatigue, cognitive issues and difficulty sleeping.
Some of those affected reported hearing odd sounds in particular rooms of their homes, leading some experts to speculate that some kind of sonic weapon or faulty surveillance device may have been at fault.
The Associated Press has spoken to those affected and they provided details about the attacks:
The blaring, grinding noise jolted the American diplomat from his bed in a Havana hotel. He moved just a few feet, and there was silence. He climbed back into bed. Inexplicably, the agonizing sound hit him again. It was as if he’d walked through some invisible wall cutting straight through his room.
Soon came the hearing loss, and the speech problems, symptoms both similar and altogether different from others among at least 21 US victims in an astonishing international mystery still unfolding in Cuba. The top US diplomat has called them “health attacks”.
The AP said other symptoms have been “brain swelling, dizziness, nausea, severe headaches, balance problems and tinnitus, or prolonged ringing in the ears.” Almost all diplomats have felt better once they returned to the states.
On Monday, the AP reported that the attacks hit U.S. spies first and they also had the more severe symptoms.DONATE
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