Cuban diplomats expelled over sonic attacks
By T.K. Randall
October 4, 2017 · 17 comments
Diplomatic relations with Cuba are becoming increasingly strained. Image Credit: U.S. Department of State
The US has ordered 15 Cuban embassy officials to leave the country over a failure to protect US diplomats.
The move follows on from the withdrawal of up to 60% of the US government's embassy personnel from Cuba in response to a series of mysterious acoustic attacks in Havana.
To date, a total of 22 US officials have been targeted, each suffering from symptoms that include hearing loss, dizziness, tinnitus, balance problems, cognitive issues and difficulty sleeping.
The phenomenon was first acknowledged by the US government in August - a full nine months after the first incident occurred. So far no official explanation has been put forward and the attacks have reportedly left the FBI, the state department and US intelligence agencies scratching their heads.
"The decision was made due to Cuba's failure to take appropriate steps to protect our diplomats in accordance with its obligations under the Vienna Convention," said secretary of state Rex Tillerson.
"This order will ensure equity in our respective diplomatic operations."
US officials appear to be confident that these really are deliberately targeted attacks but have stopped short of actively accusing Cuba of being directly responsible for them.
"The ministry of foreign affairs strongly protests and condemns this unfounded and unacceptable decision as well as the pretext used to justify it," said Cuba's Foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez.
Source: The Guardian
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