US Expels 15 Cuban Diplomats from Washington Embassy

Phillip Cunningham
October 5, 2017

The argument is the lack of involvement of the Cuban government in the investigation of the odd illnesses that have affected the American personnel inside the island. The official added, though, that a full US presence in Havana depends on "full assurances" from Cuba of USA personnel safety.

The State Department is expected to announce the decision Tuesday, officials said, though they cautioned no decision was formalised until publicly announced. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and a separate Cuba investigation have failed to determine what or who is behind the attacks that have injured the American diplomats for the past 10 months.

He said at a press conference in Havana that his government fulfils all its obligations toward foreign envoys.

He spoke Tuesday after the USA government expelled 15 of Cuba's diplomats to protest its failure to protect Americans from the unexplained attacks. It said that until the Cuba government can assure the safety of US Government personnel in Cuba, the embassy will be reduced to emergency personnel so as to minimize the number of US Government personnel at risk of exposure. But Marguerite Jimenez, who's with the human rights advocacy group called the Washington Office on Latin America, has a different perspective.

Tillerson and other State Department officials insisted the action did not reduce diplomatic relations between the two countries, which were only restored in 2015.

The worldwide press should insist that the diplomats and undercover intelligence operatives allegedly injured be made available for questions, Pertierra recommended.

"We have underscored repeatedly to the Cuban government its responsibility for the safety, wellbeing, security and protection of our diplomatic staff under the Vienna Convention in Havana", the state department official said.

Jose Pertierra, a Washington-based attorney and Cuban-American told Sputnik the alleged sonic attacks had been used as the excuse to expel the diplomats in order to set off a cycle of destroying the fabric of US- Cuban diplomatic relations created under previous President Barack Obama.


Mr. Tillerson said in his latest statement that they continue to maintain diplomatic relations with Cuba and that they will continue to co-operate with the country as they continue to investigate.

In Friday's travel warning urging Americans not to visit Cuba, the State Department confirmed earlier reporting by the AP that U.S. personnel first encountered unexplained physical effects in Cuban hotels.

Those moves had followed the US's decision in August to expel two Cuban diplomats.

"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.

View of the U.S. embassy in Havana, Cuba, 29 September 2017. The AP has reported that some now suffer from problems with concentration and common word recall. They reported a range of symptoms including hearing loss, dizziness, headaches, fatigue, cognitive issues and difficulty sleeping.

The Trump administration previously had spoken of 21 medically confirmed cases.

Cuba's Embassy in Washington did not respond to multiple requests for comment. That person was the victim of an attack in January. They must leave the country within seven days.

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