Cuba starts investigation into alleged incidents concerning U.S. diplomats

US government personnel in Havana report
Report: US expels Cuban diplomats after American personnel in Cuba report 'physical symptoms'
Author

11 August, 2017

The U.S. kicked out two Cuban diplomats after American officials stationed in Havana suffered from "a variety of physical symptoms". The State Department says the USA responded by expelling two Cuban diplomats from Washington in May.

"We don't have any definitive answers about the source or the cause", of symptoms she characterized as not life-threatening.

In the fall of 2016, a series of US diplomats began suffering unexplained losses of hearing, according to officials with knowledge of the investigation into the case...

The U.S. government has said personnel at the U.S. embassy in Havana were evacuated back home for hearing problems and other symptoms over the past six months.

Nauert confirmed complaints of "physical symptoms" started in 2016. "It's caused a variety of physical symptoms in these Americans who work for the U.S. government".

CBS Radio News, which first reported the incidents, said federal investigators are looking into the claims.

Some U.S. diplomats in Cuba may have been intentionally deafened since late 2016, officials told the Associated Press and CNN.

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The rapprochement, which had been mediated by Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro, has already been troubled by Donald Trump's moves to tighten travel restrictions and trade embargoes against Cuba.

The US has also since expelled two Washington-based Cuban diplomats.

An investigation has been launched by the FBI and outside officials into whether the attack was carried out by a third country such as Russian Federation, possibly operating without the knowledge of the Cuban chain of command. It appeared that she was saying that because some of our diplomats came home, some Cuban diplomats had to leave as a matter of reciprocity. We're taking that situation seriously and it's under investigation right now.

President Trump has criticized the reopening of diplomatic relations with Cuba, calling it "a completely one-sided deal".

The foreign ministry said it had started a "comprehensive, priority and urgent investigation" into the alleged incidents after it had been informed of them by the USA embassy in February. "We have worked with the Cubans to try and find out what is going on".

The objection to removing the Cuban agents suggests that American officials did not merely want to reduce the number of staff in the embassy to balance the numbers following the departure of American officials from Havana.

The Cuban Foreign Relations Ministry (MINREX) responded to the incident in a statement published in Granma, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC).


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