State Department Orders Cuban Diplomatic Staff To Leave US

Javier Howell
October 4, 2017

"We are maintaining diplomatic relations with Havana.", the official said.

He said the decision was made "due to Cuba's failure to take appropriate steps to protect our diplomats".

United States officials said they were confident that the incidents were targeted attacks, pointing out that some of the affected diplomats had been staying in a hotel, where none of the hotel workers seem to have been affected.

Those affected have exhibited physical symptoms including ear complaints, hearing loss, dizziness, headache, fatigue, cognitive issues, and difficulty sleeping.

Tillerson said the USA would "maintain diplomatic relations with Cuba, and will continue to cooperate with Cuba as we pursue the investigation into these attacks".

The steps being taken by President Trump's administration marked a further blow to his predecessor Barack Obama's policy of rapprochement between Washington and Havana, former Cold War foes. Last week, the State Department said it would pull more than half its personnel out of the U.S. Embassy in Havana, and they are expected to leave by the end of the week.

Cuba has denied responsibility for any attacks, and has launched an investigation.

Speaking to reporters in Havana, Rodriguez said Cuba was strongly protesting the expulsions and that the United States was not providing sufficient information to Cuban investigators. "What it does is require the Cuban government to be able to fulfill their obligations with the safety and well being and protection of foreign diplomats in their country".

Last week, the Trump administration ordered more than half of the U.S. Embassy staff and family members to depart Cuba because of the mysterious ailments.

However, in a statement, Secretary Tillerson was clear that the US was not accusing Cuba of being responsible for the attacks and that the two countries were cooperating as the USA investigates.

The U.S. announced Tuesday that it had given the Cuban government a list of 15 names of people who had to leave Washington within one week, the latest move in the fallout of the odd attacks and one which was criticized by the Cuban government.

"It looks like we are returning the threats and tensions of the 1960s", said Maria Fernandez, a 45-year-old office worker in Havana. According to the official source, Cuba informed him that it will continue probing on this issue, "and we will continue to cooperate with them in that effort".

Cuba, the United States and Canada have investigated the attacks, but the probe has not yielded any answers about how they were carried out or who was responsible for them. Officials have said there was still no evidence of the source of the attack.

The US government first acknowledged the attacks in August, after the State Department expelled two Cuban diplomats from Washington over safety concerns, The Hill magazine reported.

Following Trump's decisions on this issue, several voices described the U.S. State Department's measures as excessive and alerted how risky it would be for the normalization process of bilateral relations.

Other reports by Insurance News

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