Majority of Cuban embassy staff to be expelled from US: report
The Trump administration reportedly plans to expel almost two-thirds of Cuba’s embassy staff from the country, after more than two dozen U.S. diplomats working in Cuba were targeted in a mysterious attack that resulted in sudden brain injuries.
The State Department could announce the decision to kick out the Cuban staff as early as Tuesday, McClatchy reported Monday, citing three sources briefed on the plan.
The move to push out the Cuban diplomats comes after the U.S. decided to pull back its own staff from the island nation after suspicious “health attacks” in Havana left some victims with hearing loss and speech problems.
One source told the news wire that the decision is intended be an act of “reciprocity,” matching the withdrawal of American staff from the island.
The U.S. has not outright accused Cuba of the attacks and Havana has denied any involvement in the injuries. The State Department has, however, repeatedly pointed to the Vienna Convention and warned that Cuba is responsible for the safety of U.S. diplomats serving in the state.
The United States is reportedly still trying to explain the weapon that was used against dozens of diplomats.
One American diplomat in Havana described what some are calling “health attacks,” in which he heard a “blaring, grinding noise” from his bed — but when he moved only a few feet away, he stepped into silence, almost like an “invisible wall cutting straight through his room,” according to an Associated Press report last month.
The U.S. government first acknowledged the attacks in August, after the State Department expelled two Cuban diplomats from the U.S. over safety concerns. The move came nine months after the injuries were first reported.
Lawmakers are calling for action, including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) who tweeted last week that the U.S. “should expel a Cuban diplomat for every U.S. diplomat evacuated due to acoustic attacks.”
The report comes after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Cuban officials to talk about the incidents last week.