US Withdraws Bulk Of Staff In Havana Over Unexplained "Health Attacks"

U.S. Embassy in Havana Cuba. Image credit Reuters

U.S. Embassy in Havana Cuba. Image credit Reuters

The officials said the U.S. will stop issuing visas in Cuba effective immediately because of the staff reductions and the decision is not described as a retaliatory measure.

"US embassy personnel are most at risk but. the American public traveling in Cuba might also be at risk as well", a senior State Department official told reporters Friday morning.

The mysterious injuries, which date back to 2016, prompted the USA on Friday to take the serious step of removing more than half its embassy staff from the island and warning Americans to avoid traveling there. The decision was made after 21 staffers reported experiencing the same symptoms, including dizziness, tinnitus, headache, and fatigue. Washington earlier this year expelled two Cuban diplomats over the alleged incidents.

While it's certainly embarrassing that our State Department and intelligence community is saying that they don't understand what's happening, there will be many in the USA government who are happy that this is happening.

"The warning illustrates the administration's political agenda and is totally disproportionate to any real safety threat to American travelers". This has taught me that once faith is broken it's very hard to believe again.

The move comes after at least 21 diplomats and their families have experienced health problems over the past year, some as traumatic as brain injury and hearing loss.

This person's spouse noted that the person was turning up the volume of the TV and radio very high and it was irritating and the spouse said you need to get your hearing checked.

Hundreds of Cuban citizens won't be able to issue visas to visit the U.S. Image credit Reuters
Hundreds of Cuban citizens won’t be able to get visas to visit the U.S. Image credit Reuters

One theory is that the health problems arise from some type of covert attack - sonic weapons, perhaps.

WASHINGTON - In a move that casts doubt on the state of a historic detente between two longtime rivals, the United States has ordered a sudden reduction in its diplomatic staff in Cuba, cutting the majority of its presence at the Havana embassy in the wake of freaky injuries to employees. The US will continue to keep diplomatic relations with Havana and did not rule out that bilateral meetings could take place in the United States. Cuba has told us it will continue to investigate these attacks and we will continue to cooperate with them in this effort.

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, a harsh critic of the Cuban government, hinted at the State Department's coming decision. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said in a statement Friday. American officials believe Cuba is "probably not responsible", the New York Times reported (paywall). "Someone or some government is trying to reverse that process", Leahy said in a statement.

Initially, officials suspected sonic attacks, but the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies that searched homes and hotels in Cuba where the incidents occurred found no devices, the AP report said. Some possible theories put the blame on rogue elements of Cuba's security services, or on a third party like Russian Federation that doesn't want US-Cuban relations to improve.

A USA official earlier told reporters that for the foreseeable future, any bilateral meetings between US and Cuban officials would take place on American soil, not Cuban.

The officials demanded anonymity as the decision has yet to be announced, though the United States informed Cuba of its decision early on Friday.

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