U.S. to expel two thirds of Cuban diplomats in Washington

 

The Donald Trump administration will expel almost two thirds of the personnel of the Cuban embassy in the United States after months of mysterious “sonic attacks” against U.S. diplomats that led the White House to withdraw part of its own personnel in Havana, McClatchy DC Bureau reported.

According to three of the U.S. sources informed about “the plan,” the Department of State will announce the expulsion of the Cuban diplomatic personnel as soon as Tuesday October 3. A fourth described the expulsion as “reciprocity” with the U.S. withdrawal from Havana.

A series of mysterious “acoustic” attacks began months ago and have affected at least 21 U.S. persons. According to an AP dispatch, U.S. intelligence agents were the first to be affected.

Without evidence or information

The United States still has no idea of the nature of the device or weapon used against its personnel.

The Department of State hasn’t accused Cuba of being behind the incidents. But it has warned several times that Havana is responsible for the safety of the foreign diplomats on its territory, according to the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.

No evidence has been contributed on the acoustic attacks against the diplomatic officials in Cuba, and communication on the issue has been at the level of foreign ministries.

The U.S. government’s decision to reduce the personnel of its embassy in Havana is “hasty” and the “Government of Cuba has no responsibility whatsoever” in the alleged sonic attacks, Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, general director for the United States of the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told the press.

“Cuba has never perpetrated nor will it ever perpetrate actions of that nature,” Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez affirmed when he participated in September in the high-level debate of the UN General Assembly.

Rodríguez assured that the Havana government “seriously and strictly observes its obligations” under the Vienna Convention with regard to the protection of the integrity “of diplomatic agents accredited in the country,” including those of the United States.

The ministry denied these facts and assured that “it has not allowed nor will it allow that its territory be used by third parties with that purpose.”

The expulsion of the personnel of the Cuban diplomatic representation in Washington would come to join the three measures that up until now have been reported and that considerably affect the fragile relations between the two countries:

-the withdrawal of part of its personnel in the embassy in Havana;

-the indefinite suspension of the issuing of visas to Cubans to visit the United States; and

-the call to the citizens of that country to abstain from visiting Cuba, alleging safety aspects.

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