U.S. expels 15 Cuban diplomats following mysterious attacks


President Donald Trump's administration reportedly plans to expel a majority of Cubas embassy staff from the U.S., after American diplomats in Havana were targeted in a mysterious attack that resulted in sudden brain injuries, the media reported.

USA secretary of state Rex Tillerson had earlier said that kicking out 15 Cuban diplomats would "ensure equity".

"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", Tillerson said in a statement.

"I think the conversations have focused on the Cuban government's responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of diplomatic personnel that they host in their country", the officials said.

After the departure of the Cuban diplomats, the number of personnel working in both embassies will be "roughly very close to each other", an official from the U.S. State Department told reporters.

The attacks, which United States officials initially suggested could have come from some sort of covert acoustic device, have affected at least 22 U.S. embassy staff in Havana over the past few months.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said it's "ridiculous" to think the Cuban government didn't know about the attacks that caused hearing loss, dizziness, and fatigue among US embassy employees working in Cuba.

The Trump administration has said that 21 United States diplomats have been affected, but according to the three journalists, investigators discovered that numerous first reported cases involved intelligence workers posted to the Havana embassy.

The steps taken by President Donald Trump's administration mark another blow to his predecessor Barack Obama's policy of rapprochement between Washington and Havana, former Cold War foes.

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.

Cuba has denied involvement in the attacks and is conducting an investigation. The United States has not blamed Cuba, which has denied any involvement and has cooperated with Federal Bureau of Investigation agents dispatched there.

Parrilla told the UN General Assembly last month that his country has found no evidence to support U.S. claims that diplomats were harmed due to attacks.

"The ministry urges the competent authorities of the US government not to continue politicizing this matter, which can provoke an undesirable escalation", Rodriguez said, referring to Cuba's Foreign Ministry.

The United States announced on Friday that it was sharply reducing its diplomatic presence in Cuba, as it warned USA citizens not to visit the Communist-ruled island because of attacks that have caused hearing loss, dizziness and fatigue in U.S. embassy personnel.

The Trump administration on Tuesday has ordered the expulsion of 15 diplomats from Cuba´s embassy in Washington, a week after the Caribbean island " s government urged Washington not to make any hasty decisions.

"It looks like we are returning the threats and tensions of the 1960s", said Maria Fernandez, a 45-year-old office worker in Havana.

"Our position. does not presume Cuban culpability", the official said.

The State Department gave the Cubans a list of which diplomats they wanted expelled.

The US as well issued a travel warning for Americans thinking of visiting the communist-run island.

Webster Hare cited a September speech at the UN General Assembly in which Trump said the United States "has stood against the corrupt and destabilising regime in Cuba".



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