U.S. shows 15 Cuban diplomats the door in row over Havana 'attacks'

U.S. shows 15 Cuban diplomats the door in row over Havana 'attacks'

U.S. shows 15 Cuban diplomats the door in row over Havana 'attacks'

We are, of course, closely monitoring and are in touch with USA, as well as Cuban authorities, and will act accordingly if anything warrants a change in our plans.

Cuba says it allowed USA investigative agencies to work on the ground in its country for the first time in more than 50 years as part of the investigation into attacks on American diplomats.

Cubans and Americans in Havana said they're bewildered by the diplomatic spat between the two countries.

Late last week, Tillerson announced in a similar statement that the State Department would withdraw all "non-essential" staff from the Havana embassy and urge all Americans to avoid Cuba, as the attacks appear to have taken place in areas "frequented by USA citizens" not affiliated with the government. Now both countries are poised to cut their embassies by more than half, as invisible, unexplained attacks threaten delicate relations between the Cold War rivals. The US has not blamed the Cuban government for the attacks but staff reduction had been rumored in the last few days.

Trump's drastic move follows bizzare claims that at least 21 US embassy staff in Havana - mainly spies operating under diplomatic cover - were made ill by "sonic attacks" starting in November a year ago, days after US President Donald Trump's election.

But the USA soon discovered that actual diplomats at the embassy had also been hit by similar attacks, officials said, further confounding the search for a culprit and a motive.

Last week, the United States claimed not to know the methods, means and manner of attacks on its diplomats.

"We continue diplomatic relations with Cuba and to cooperate with Cuba on the investigation of these attacks", added Mr. Tillerson in a statement.

Lawmakers who had called on the Trump administration to expel all of Cuba's diplomats applauded the move Tuesday. That person was the victim of an attack in January. That has raised concerns among investigators that the attacks may be getting more sophisticated and harder to detect, individuals briefed on the investigation said. At the same time he added that expelling the 15 Cuban diplomats "does not signal a change of policy or a determination of responsibility" but ensures "equity on the impact of our respective operations". That number at times climbed to more than 50, and the latest edition of the U.S. Three of the spouses worked at the embassy.

The removal of 15 will reduce the Cuban staffing to roughly a dozen accredited diplomats. The departing Americans are expected to have all left Cuba by week's end, officials said.

To consider restoring the operations again at the USA embassy in Havana, "we will need full assurances from the Cuban government that these attacks would not continue", the State Department official said. They were convinced that whenever the United States was at odds with another country, it must have been pointless and for no good reason, so they took it upon themselves to restore whatever was being withheld from our adversaries, in return for basically nothing.

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US-Cuban relations expert and Research Associate at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA), R. O. Niederstrasser, told Sputnik it is obvious that the Trump administration has caved to pressures from the Cuban-American lobby.

Sen. Marco Rubio signed that letter.

U.S. secretary of state Rex Tillerson had earlier said that kicking out 15 Cuban diplomats would "ensure equity".

Almost two dozen U.S. personnel have suffered unexplained ill health in the city.

On Monday, the AP reported that the attacks hit US spies first and they also had the more severe symptoms. The United States has praised its willingness to co-operate, but also has avoided sharing sensitive details about the investigation.

The mysterious "health attacks" started within days of President Donald Trump's election in November, the AP has reported. While American tourists aren't known to have been hurt, the USA said they could be exposed if they travel to the island. The United States has not blamed Cuba, which has denied any involvement and cooperated with a U.S. investigation by FBI agents dispatched there. Until the government of Cuba can ensure the safety of U.S. diplomats in Cuba, the U.S. Embassy will be reduced to emergency personnel to minimize the number of diplomats at risk of exposure to harm.

"American diplomats need to remain on the field and in the game". 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. Some now suffer from problems with concentration and common word recall. The incidents began late previous year with the last being recorded in August.

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For those staying and new arrivals, the USA has been giving instructions about what to watch and listen for to identify an attack in progress.

Nor did they know that Castro had used the occasion of their meeting to pull aside Jeff DeLaurentis, then the top United States diplomat in Cuba, to say privately that his government was equally alarmed and willing to help.

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