United States expels 15 Cuban diplomats following 'sonic attacks'

US Embassy in Havana Cuba

Ties between the US and Cuba were restored under President Barack Obama in 2014 after more than half a century.

Supporters of warmer U.S. -Cuba ties argue the Trump administration ultimately bowed to political pressure from opponents of rapprochement, such as Florida Sen. That spies, working under diplomatic cover, comprised the majority of the early victims adds an entirely new element of mystery to whats harmed at least 21 Americans over the past year. In recent weeks the State Department had said there were 21 individuals "medically confirmed" to be affected by attacks that harmed their hearing, cognition, balance and vision, some with diagnoses as serious as brain injury.

He said the move was needed to "minimise the number of diplomats at risk of exposure to harm".

President Donald Trump's administration has expelled 15 diplomats from the Cuban Embassy in Washington, D.C., due to the mysterious attacks on USA diplomats that have caused major health problems.

Behind the scenes, though, investigators immediately started searching for explanations in the darker, rougher world of spycraft and counterespionage, given that so numerous first reported cases involved intelligence workers posted to the USA embassy.

The State Department delivered a diplomatic note Tuesday to the Cuban embassy in Washington ordering 15 listed Cubans to leave the United States within seven days.

The statement did not assign blame to any specific entity for what our government believes are sonic attacks.

The reduction of both embassies to minimum staffing is expected to impair issuance of visas for people seeking to travel between the U.S. and Cuba.

According to the White House, a spate of attacks over the past year that has damaged the health of 22 Americans, in addition to several Canadian diplomats.

President Raul Castro has reportedly expressed alarm at the series of incidents, and Cuba's foreign minister toldTillerson in a meeting last last week that his country was not involved in the attacks and was trying to find the culprits. That person was the victim of an attack in January.

United States officials said they are convinced someone has been targeting the diplomats and they are investigating whether some type of sonic weapon could have been used in the attacks. Cuban officials pledged to investigate the incidents.

The new expulsion order for Cuban diplomats would in effect leave both countries with only emergency-level staffing at their respective embassies.


There was no immediate reaction from Cuba's embassy in Washington late Monday after word emerged that the United States planned to ask Cuban diplomats to leave. That number at times climbed to more than 50, and the latest edition of the U.S.

The removal of 15 will reduce the Cuban staff to roughly a dozen accredited diplomats. It's been less than three years since the us and Cuba renewed diplomatic relations. Official confirmation of the decision is expected to come on Tuesday. The United States will formally ask Cuba to pull the diplomats, but won't expel them forcefully unless Havana refuses, the officials said. Nearly all diplomats have felt better once they returned to the states.

Sen. Marco Rubio signed that letter.

The official also said that the American diplomats the U.S.is withdrawing from its embassy in Havana will be out of Cuba by the end of this week.

Almost two dozen USA personnel have suffered unexplained ill health in the city.

On Monday, The Associated Press reported that USA spies were among the first and most severely affected victims.

The State Department has not disclosed the size of its mission in Cuba.

While the attacks started within days of President Donald Trump's surprise election in November, the precise timeline remains unclear, including whether intelligence officers were the first victims hit or merely the first victims to report it. While American tourists aren't known to have been hurt, the U.S. said they could be exposed if they travel to the island. Cuba said it launched an investigation but it has also been unsuccessful.

Rodriguez had met with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to discuss the reported attacks and said that Cuba had implemented additional security measures to protect U.S. officials.

There were hopes, though, that the two nations were starting to put that bitter history behind them after renewing diplomatic relations in 2015.

To medical investigators' dismay, symptoms have varied widely.

Rodriguez assured that Cuba has never carried out and will never carry out any attacks on diplomats and their families. The official briefed reporters on a conference call on condition of anonymity.

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