Unic Press UK: United States government has ordered the departure of non-emergency personnel assigned to its embassy in Havana, as well as all family members, on health and safety grounds in the light of specific attacks at the embassy community over the past several months, the U.S. Department of State said yesterday, Friday.
For the time being, the U.S. will be manning its embassy in Havana with emergency personnel until the Republic of Cuba can assure the safety of U.S. government personnel on Cuban territory.
Other measures taken by the U.S. government in the light of the specific attacks at its personnel included:
- Routine visa operations suspended indefinitely.
- Limiting short-term travel to Cuba, except for U.S. Government officials involved with ongoing investigations, or travel related to the U.S. national security, or travel for crucial embassy operations.
- There will be no official delegations from the U.S to Cuba; no bilateral meetings in Cuba for the time being.
- Travel warning for U.S. citizens.
With regard to the attacks, at least 21 diplomats and family members have been affected. Those affected suffer from a series of symptoms, including hearing loss, tinnitus, balance problems, visual complaints, headache, fatigue, dizziness, cognitive issues and difficulty sleeping. The ailments appears to be mysterious as its source(s) has yet to be unraveled by U.S. intelligence.
Recent sonic attacks
- November 2016: Many U.S. diplomats serving in Cuba became unwell. There were reports that many of them, while asleep at night, had heard ‘strange’ sounds that could be likened to the buzzing of an insect.
- August 2017: Attacks reoccurred.
- Early September 2017: Attacks reoccurred.
- Yesterday, 29 September 2017: U.S. takes decisive steps, including travel warning for U.S. citizens, and temporarily suspending routine visa operations at its embassy in Havana.
Who is behind sonic attacks in Cuba?
Investigations are ongoing. No individual, or state actor, or corporate body has been accused of being responsible for the attacks. The U.S. said it has yet to rule out the possibility of a third country as a part of its ongoing investigations.
Cuba/United States relations
U.S. ex-Secretary of State, John Kerry, was in Cuba on 15th August 2015, raising the American flag above the U.S. Embassy in Havana for the first time in 54 years, thereby symbolizing the restoration of diplomatic relations after a 54-year suspension.
On 20 March 2016, ex-president Barack Obama became the first U.S. President in 88 years to visit Cuba. Obama traveled with daughters Sasha and Malia, the first lady and her mother.
President Donald Trump reacted to Barack Obama visiting Cuba in 2016. He tweeted:
Wow, President Obama just landed in Cuba, a big deal, and Raul Castro wasn't even there to greet him. He greeted Pope and others. No respect
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 20, 2016