Rubio: US should kick out Cuban diplomats

Rubio: US should kick out Cuban diplomats
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRyan pledges 'entitlement reform' in 2018 Richard Gere welcomes lawmakers' words of support for Tibet Dem lawmaker gives McConnell's tax reform op-ed a failing grade MORE (R-Fla.) on Friday called for Cuban diplomats in the U.S. to be expelled after the Trump administration ordered over half of its diplomatic staff to leave Havana in the wake of mysterious health attacks.

"In light of these harmful attacks against American diplomatic personnel in Cuba, it is weak, unacceptable and outrageous for the U.S. State Department to allow Raul Castro to keep as many of his operatives in the U.S. as he wants," Rubio, who is the son of Cuban immigrants, said in a statement.

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"The State Department must conduct its own investigation independent of the Castro regime and submit a comprehensive report to Congress. Until those responsible for these attacks are brought to justice, the U.S. should immediately expel an equal number of Cuban operatives, downgrade the U.S. embassy in Havana to an interests section, and consider re-listing Cuba as a state sponsor of terror," he continued. 

The senator also issued a series of tweets blasting the island nation's government and the attack. 

Rubio's comments come after the State Department announced on Friday that it ordered roughly 60 percent of its staff and their families at the U.S. Embassy in Havana to leave.

“The health, safety, and well-being of our Embassy community is our greatest concern,” Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonOvernight Defense: Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital | Mattis, Tillerson reportedly opposed move | Pentagon admits 2,000 US troops are in Syria | Trump calls on Saudis to 'immediately' lift Yemen blockade Trump has yet to name ambassadors to key nations in Mideast Mattis, Tillerson warned Trump of security concerns in Israel embassy move MORE said.

“We will continue to aggressively investigate these attacks until the matter is resolved," he said. 

The attacks, which initially were thought to be the cause of a covert sonic device, started in the fall of 2016 and continued until as recently as late August, according to the State Department.

There have been 21 confirmed cases of the symptoms that range from hearing loss to balance problems to difficulty sleeping, according to a State Department official.