US cuts diplomatic staff in Cuba, warns against travel
The U.S. on Friday made dramatic cuts to its diplomatic presence in Cuba and warned Americans to avoid travelling there after a series of mysterious "attacks" affected its diplomats, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.
The recently re-opened U.S. embassy in Cuba will have its staffing reduced to emergency personnel only, and visa operations have been suspended indefinitely as a result of the action.
"The decision to reduce our diplomatic presence in Havana was made to ensure the safety of our personnel," Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement.
"We maintain diplomatic relations with Cuba, and our work in Cuba continues to be guided by the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States."
Twenty-one U.S. diplomats have suffered various physical ailments following what U.S. officials now describe as attacks, acknowledging the nature remains unknown as well as the perpetrators.
U.S. officials had previously refrained from calling them "attacks", instead using the vague language of "incidents".
Those who have been afflicted have suffered a range of symptoms including hearing loss, ear problems, dizziness, headache, cognitive issues and fatigue.
Havana has pledged to continue investigating and the U.S. will assist in the effort, Tillerson said.
The U.S. has not ruled out a third party could be behind the attacks, according to U.S. officials who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity.
Commenting on the matter Trump said "some very bad things happened in Cuba.
"They did some bad things in Cuba," he said, without naming the alleged culprit.
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez was in Washington on Tuesday to discuss the case with Tillerson, warning the U.S. to avoid hasty action as tensions soar.
Between five and 10 Canadian diplomats and their families suffered sonic attacks similar to the Americans.
Unlike the Americans, all the affected Canadians recovered, although some required hospital treatment.
At first it was thought the Canadians were accidently affected, with the Americans the prime target. But as the numbers grew, officials said they felt whoever is behind the attacks deliberately targeted Canadians as well.
However, Global Affairs Canada, the department in the Canadian government that manages Canada's diplomatic and consular relations, said there are no plans at this time to remove Canadian diplomatic staff or their families, Canadian media reported.
Related news releases
- 11.12.2017Mayor: Explosion at Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan was attempted terror attack
- 11.12.2017New York 'bomb' prematurely exploded at Manhattan subway platform - UPDATED
- 09.12.2017Trump senior aide Dina Powell to resign early next year: White House
- 08.12.2017Trump: I fulfilled my campaign promise
- 08.12.2017US Congress passes spending bill to avoid government shutdown
- 08.12.2017Ex-South Carolina cop sentenced to 20 years in US
- 08.12.2017Judge orders arrest of former Argentine president
- 08.12.201741 students suffer minor injuries after 3 school buses crash in Kentucky
- 07.12.20173 dead, 15 injured in New Mexico high school shooting
- 07.12.2017B-1B bomber joins U.S.-South Korea drills as tensions escalate
- 07.12.2017Trump urges Saudi Arabia to lift Yemen blockade
- 07.12.2017Wildfires rage across California as thousands flee to safety
- 06.12.2017Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital
- 06.12.2017Trump to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital today
- 06.12.2017Paraguay Congress legalizes planting of medical marijuana
- 05.12.20171 dead, thousands threatened by California wildfire
- 05.12.2017US: Supreme Court allows full enforcement of travel ban
- 03.12.2017Arming PKK/YPG to stop per Trump, Erdogan talk: Mattis
- 03.12.2017Trump says Flynn's actions during presidential transition were lawful
- 03.12.2017Two dead as Honduran army enforces curfew while vote count stalls
- 03.12.2017US Senate passes largest tax overhaul in 31 years
- 02.12.2017U.N. council to meet on North Korea rights abuses, nuclear program in December
- 02.12.2017Trump, on Twitter, says Tillerson will remain as top U.S. diplomat
- 02.12.2017One dead, scores hurt in growing protests over delayed Honduran vote count
- 01.12.2017Nigeria: 4 policemen killed in raid on Fulani area
- 01.12.2017US: Flynn pleads guilty to lying to FBI
- 01.12.2017Flynn prepared to testify Trump directed him to contact Russians
- 01.12.2017FETO suspect at US Consulate gives additional testimony
- 01.12.2017U.S. military to indefinitely delay ban on cluster bombs
- 01.12.2017Honduran protesters, police clash in escalating election crisis
- 30.11.2017White House reportedly plans to sack Tillerson
- 30.11.2017Ex-Twitter worker claims responsibility for Trump's account shutdown
- 30.11.2017US: North Korea will be utterly destroyed, if war comes
- 30.11.2017Trump vows more North Korea sanctions
- 29.11.2017US plans to divest heavy weapons from PKK/PYD in Syria
- 29.11.2017UN Security Council to hold emergency session over N.Korea missile launch
- 29.11.2017Military helicopter crashes in southern Mexico
- 29.11.2017West offers Turkey more than Iran, Russia: Tillerson
- 29.11.2017Canadian students offering hijab kits to victims
- 28.11.2017Trump does not see solution as gov’t shutdown looms
- 30.09.2017Under pressure from Trump, Tom Price resigns as health secretary over private plane uproar
- 30.09.2017US does not recognize KRG's independence poll
- 30.09.2017Trump lashes out at San Juan mayor over Maria response
- 29.09.2017US Senate approves Jon Huntsman as ambassador to Russia
- 29.09.2017Myanmar violence looks like ethnic cleansing: US
- 28.09.2017US to send more nuke-capable submarines, bombers to Korean peninsula