News Worms
News Worms

United States to expel almost two-thirds of Cuban embassy staff: U.S. sources

United States to expel almost two-thirds of Cuban embassy staff: U.S. sources

The Trump administration ordered the expulsion of 15 officials from Cuba's embassy in Washington over the government's failure to protect 22 USA citizens who were subjected to a series of unexplained health attacks in recent months.

USA secretary of state Rex Tillerson said the move would "ensure equity".

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the latest decision was made "due to Cuba's failure to take appropriate steps to protect American personnel in Cuba, targeted in mysterious attacks that damaged their health".

"This order will ensure equity in our respective diplomatic operations". It comes as the United States seeks to protect its own diplomats from unexplained attacks that have harmed at least 21 Americans in Havana with ailments that affected their hearing, cognition, balance, and vision.

The department said symptoms include hearing loss, dizziness, headache, fatigue, cognitive issues, and difficulty sleeping.

The Trump administration imposed last week's and today's reprisals despite the U.S. State Department's admitting investigators have not been able to determine who is responsible or what caused the alleged health events, which Washington describes as "attacks" without any conclusions about it.

The steps being taken by President Donald Trump's administration mark another 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.

But the weird case has brought simmering U.S. -Cuba tensions since Trump took office to a boil.

He said he would not lift the US trade embargo on the Caribbean island until it made "fundamental reforms".

The move to push out the Cuban diplomats comes after the USA made a decision to pull back its own staff from the island nation after suspicious "health attacks" in Havana left some victims with hearing loss and speech problems.

Cuba said during the second and third visits, it let the U.S. import special equipment and granted access to all facilities.

The decision announced Tuesday is certain to deepen the rift between the two countries over what the State Department has called "specific attacks" on USA diplomats during the past 10 months.

The U.S. measures will stop short of breaking off relations or closing the two countries'embassies, which reopened in 2015 following more than five decades of hostility.

United States transnational news agency Association Press gave impetus yesterday to Washington's assertion that USA diplomats in Havana have suffered mysterious sensory attacks by alleging that intelligence agents have been especially targeted.

"Our position. does not presume Cuban culpability", the official said.

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.

Also on Friday, the U.S. government warned against travels to Cuba.


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