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Fifteen Cuban Diplomats Expelled from Washington


Shortly thereafter, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement that the decision was a response to "Cuba's failure to take appropriate steps to protect our diplomats".

"Because our personnel's safety is at risk, and we are unable to identify the source of the attacks, we believe USA citizens may also be at risk and warn them not to travel to Cuba", the United States said in a formal travel warning.

Despite the move the U.S.is not blaming Cuba for attacks on Americans in Havana and is maintaining diplomatic relations.

On Sept. 29, the State Department ordered the departure of non-emergency personnel assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Havana, as well as all family members.

The U.S. diplomats and their family members in Havana began reporting symptoms including hearing loss, dizziness, balance and visual problems, headaches and cognitive issues last December.

The US also said that the move was created to achieve parity in each country's embassy functions, after Washington announced the withdrawal on Friday of non-emergency personnel - more than half its diplomats in Havana, as well as all family members.

"The Ministry urges the competent authorities of the US government not to continue politicizing this matter, which can provoke an undesirable escalation." the ministry added.

But now both countries are poised to cut their embassies by more than half following uncanny, unexplained attacks threatening delicate ties between the Cold War rivals.

Since first disclosing the situation in August, the United States had generally avoided the word "attacks".

JIMENEZ: This is going to complicate and slow down any of our bilateral cooperation just simply based on the fact that there will be an insufficient number of people at the - at the Cuban Embassy here in D.C.to do very basic things like process visas or meet with US businesspeople interested in doing business on the island.

The State Department is framing this decision as a simple balancing of the number of diplomats on each country's soil.




The total of Americans affected has now reached 22, with another medically confirmed case being announced on Tuesday. The terrifying attacks in Cuba overwhelmingly hit USA intelligence operatives in Havana, not ordinary diplomats, when they began within days of President Donald Trumps election, The Associated Press has learned.

Some U.S. officials have speculated that the attacks are the work of rogue Cuban operatives seeking to wreck relations with the U.S., or that of a third nation.

"They were given all the facilities, including the possibility of importing equipment, as a sign of goodwill and the great interest of the Cuban government in concluding the investigation", said Rodriguez.

The U.S. officials have reportedly been "targeted" in hotels or in their residences with Cuba-owned compounds.

"It is quite significant that the United States [government] has not made available for interviews any of the diplomats or undercover intelligence agents who were allegedly "attacked" and are neither deaf, nor have some other medical affliction", he pointed out.

"Cuba has never perpetrated, nor will it ever perpetrate attacks of any sort against diplomatic officials or their relatives", Rodríguez Parrilla said at a news conference in Havana.

The Trump administration imposed last week's and today's reprisals despite the U.S. State Department's admitting investigators have not been able to determine who is responsible or what caused the alleged health events, which Washington describes as "attacks" without any conclusions about it.

This order will also "ensure equity in our respective diplomatic operations", the top US diplomat added.

The US has expelled 15 Cuban diplomats, saying Havana failed to protect US diplomats from mysterious acoustic attacks. So we need to keep probing and figuring out what on earth has been going on.

Some U.S. diplomats who were asked to leave Havana expressed their strong willingness to return in the near future.

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