Pompeo promises “diplomatic team” in Cuba

 

Mike Pompeo, CIA director and nominated to be the next secretary of state, affirmed this Thursday that he will work to “build a diplomatic team” in Cuba that can respond to U.S. interests.

Speaking of his position about the island in the hearing for his confirmation in the Senate’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Pompeo said that everyone is aware that there are some concerns there, in reference to the alleged acoustic attacks suffered by U.S. diplomats in Havana.

Since January, Washington transferred part of the consular services to its embassy in Bogotá, and later to Guyana, due to the 60 percent reduction of its diplomatic mission in response to what it considers an attack against its officials.

Senators Jeff Flake (R) and Tom Udall (D) asked the nominee to head U.S. diplomacy if he was thinking of strengthening and recovering that presence in Havana, considering that President Raúl Castro will leave his post soon.

After the senators described the U.S. diplomatic corps in Cuba as a “skeletal presence,” Pompeo answered that they are not going to commit themselves to building a team that provides diplomacy there.

Udall questioned the CIA director about the possibility of working with the Cuban authorities to provide a better Internet service on the island and reminded him that numerous U.S. governors, Democrats as well as Republicans, are interested in possible agricultural business deals that can derive from relations with Cuba.

Pompeo did not want to go into details, but affirmed that his team will study the possibilities to be considered in those spheres.

Against Russia

At the hearing, Pompeo defended the efforts of the Donald Trump government to respond to the Russian aggression and insinuated that bigger sanctions should be applied to Moscow, although he avoided the insistent questions of the Democrats about the president’s handling of the special investigation of the Russian intervention in the 2016 elections.

He affirmed that they have to do everything possible to ensure that each one of the tools used by Vladimir Putin are not successful.

Pompeo publicly confirmed for the first time that he has been interviewed by Robert Mueller, the attorney investigating the possible links between Russia and Trump’s presidential campaign, and said that as director of the CIA he has cooperated in the investigation.

He also said it would be unlikely that he would renounce to being the secretary of state if Trump fires Mueller to put an end to the investigation.

Pompeo promised that the Department of State will be as important in decision making about national security as the espionage agency he heads at present and affirmed that his close relationship with Trump is an advantage to restore the department’s importance.

He said he plans to guarantee that the Department of State is equally crucial for the president’s policies and the national security of the United States.

EFE / AP / OnCuba

 

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