US cuts staff in Cuba over mysterious injuries

US cuts staff in Cuba over mysterious injuries

On Friday afternoon, the Department of State posted on its website that "over the past several months, numerous U.S. Embassy Havana employees have been targeted in specific attacks" suffering "significant injuries".

USA citizens in Cuba in need of emergency assistance should contact the embassy by telephone at +(53)(7) 839-4100 or the Department of State at 1-202-501-4444. However, a meeting this week between Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Eduardo Rodríguez Parrilla failed to convince officials that Cuba was doing enough to protect the safety of US personnel or to aid with the investigation, CBS reported.

Among other symptoms, the personnel have suffered from hearing loss, dizziness, tinnitus, headaches, fatigue, cognitive problems and difficulty sleeping.

The readout went on to say that Cuban authorities had so far found, "There is no evidence so far of the cause or the origin of the health disorders reported by the USA diplomats".

Only those who carry out the main US diplomatic and consular duties, including providing emergency assistance to American travelers in Cuba, will stay at the embassy in Havana, officials said.

The United States has taken a decision to pull out more than half of its diplomatic personnel from the embassy in Havana.

"The health, safety, and well-being of our embassy community is our greatest concern".

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Another senior U.S. State Department official participating in the conference call said that it doesn't appear that anyone other than the U.S. diplomats were affected, including other hotel patrons and Cuban nationals working at the embassy.

"The Department does not have definitive answers on the cause or source of the attacks and is unable to recommend a means to mitigate exposure", Tillerson said.

Cuba and the United States resumed diplomatic relations in 2015 after more than 50 years of enmity, although the White House still imposes economic sanctions against Havana.

Havana has pledged to continue investigating and the USA will assist in the effort, Tillerson said.

The former Cold War foes appeared no closer to resolving the freaky, frightening health crisis after a hastily arranged meeting between Tillerson and visiting Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez. USA officials recently revealed that 21 United States diplomats and family members have been affected.

The meeting between Tillerson and Rodriguez marked the highest-level diplomatic contact between the countries since the start of President Donald Trump's administration in January.

"The fact that some of these attacks have occurred at hotels where American citizens could be at, and we have no way of advising American citizens how we can mitigate these attacks, we felt we must warn them not to travel to Cuba", the official said.

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According to Alzugaray, this new step by the Trump administration constitutes a "negative element" that will affect not only the future development of ties between Cuba and the United States but will disturb relations between Latin America and Washington.

To medical investigators' dismay, the symptoms in the attacks vary widely from person to person. In reaction to the today's decision, the Cuban foreign ministry said that the measures were said that the withdrawal was hasty and that it will affect the bilateral relations. However, the investigation did not allow yet to identify the cause and the perpetrators of these "attacks". The remaining personnel will carry out core diplomatic and consular functions, including providing emergency assistance to U.S. citizens in Cuba.

Too much is enough, the White House has decided, about continuing attacks on diplomats, staffers, and families in Cuba.

After the meeting, Cuban diplomats have been tweeting their governments positiosn and sharing stories by the official Cuban press on the subject.

Cuban foreign minister also said the incidents should not be made a "political issue" and reiterated the importance to continue the active cooperation with USA authorities to clarify the alleged attacks.

The moves deliver a significant setback to the delicate reconciliation between the US and Cuba, two countries that endured a half-century estrangement despite their locations only 90 miles apart.

Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Treasury Department, Seth Unger, told Fox News in an email earlier this week that OFAC did indeed initiate the process "immediately", but simply has not yet produced the necessary amendments to the regulations on Cuba.

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