United States orders withdrawal of personnel from Cuban embassy after 'specific attacks'

Jerome Frank
September 30, 2017

Even without a perpetrator, a motive or a modus operandi identified yet, some suspect poisoned relations were the ultimate aim. Our work in Cuba continues to be guided by the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States. "Cuban people wld suffer most".

The readout went on to say that Cuban authorities had so far found, "There is no evidence so far of the cause or the origin of the health disorders reported by the USA diplomats".

"It would be unfortunate if a matter of this nature is politicized", said Rodriguez, who has represented Cuba on the world stage for years.

Officials are citing "health attacks" against Americans on the island, and demanding Cuba assure the safety of U.S. citizens.

American's application to the Department of Transportation is unaffected by Friday's State Department announcement, he said. Officials wouldn't rule out a third country being responsible for the attacks.

In June, President Donald Trump announced new restrictions, including a ban on Americans doing business with the military and intelligence-affiliated companies that control large swaths of the Cuban economy. "They did some bad things".

The move could feed into the rhetoric from hardliners on both sides, who want to cut diplomatic relations completely. The White House did not immediately respond to a request seeking clarity on the president's remarks.

In a travel warning, the State Department bluntly said "because our personnel's safety is at risk, and we are unable to identify the source of the attacks, we believe USA citizens may also be at risk and warn them not to travel to Cuba".

In August, the State Department revealed that a number of US diplomats in Cuba had been the target of what Secretary of State Rex Tillerson described at the time as "health attacks" - but details have been sketchy at best.

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On Thursday, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert spoke of the "incidents" - not "attacks" - in Havana, and said they were under review, including with investigations on the ground by the FBI.

Diplomats began complaining of a wide variety of maladies beginning late past year.

The State Department has acknowledged that at least 21 Americans connected to the embassy have been hurt in the attacks, the most recent of which occurred in August.

But earlier reports suggested they were sonic attacks in which staff in Havana were targeted by audio waves, leaving several with chronic hearing issues. No Cuban employees of the embassy have complained of any symptoms, only American diplomats.

The Canadian Embassy in Washington said Ottawa is monitoring the situation and is investigating the cause. The expected moves follow a series of mysterious attacks that are said to have left multiple embassy staffers with ailments ranging from severe headaches to permanent hearing loss and mild traumatic brain injury.

The U.S. actions are sure to rattle already delicate ties between the longtime adversaries who only recently began putting their hostility behind them. -Cuban relations, State Department officials insisted.

While U.S. officials said Cuba is still cooperating with the investigation, they stressed that the probe has produced little usable information that could help protect Americans staying there.

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) seconded Rubio's sentiment, saying that it appears some sort of foul play went down.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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