CUBA BRIEF: As far as the injuring of American diplomats in Cuba, Raul Castro sees nothing, hears nothing.

Top US security official ‘targeted in mysterious Cuba embassy attack’ according to British Newspaper The Independent.

“The State Department did not talk publicly about the incident until August, months after the problems were uncovered,” according to The Washington Post. 

Raul Castro clams that he is baffled by what happened and several theories, minimizing Cubans’ responsibility, have been floated. The fact remains that Cuba is responsible for what happens to diplomats on the island.

American diplomats in Cuba are under Cuban intelligence surveillance 24 hours a day. General Castro runs a tight totalitarian regime. It is simply not credible for anyone to argue that Havana just didn’t know that at least 21 Americans suffered “unexplained health problems, including mild traumatic brain injury, permanent hearing loss, loss of balance, severe headaches and brain swelling.”

The regime has disregarded its responsibilities under international law the past: Cuba attempted smuggling warplanes, missiles to North Korea during the Obama Administration despite United Nations prohibitions. Years ago a group of former political prisoners were waiting in line outside the US Interests Section where they were attacked with sticks and iron bars by a mob with iron bars and sticks. The attackers were trucked to the Embassy by the Cuban government. Also years ago the wife of the Charges’ de Affaires of the Czech Republic was being driven in an embassy car when the vehicle was struck by a truck. The Czechs were convinced it was not an accident. She had just met with a number of dissidents and the Czech cars had suffered broken windshields, flat tires, after meeting with pro-democracy activists. At an international gathering in Panama peaceful Cuban American protesters were beaten by thugs who had been flown there by the Cuban regime. Havana’s disregard for diplomatic norms is not new. Some claim that the Cold War between Cuba and the United States was ended by President Obama’s Cuba policy but when the Cold War ended in Europe Soviet troops left Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia and other Central European nations. Thousands of Cuban troops remain in Venezuela to this day.


The Independent, September 18, 2017

Top US security official ‘targeted in mysterious Cuba embassy attack’

The US could close its embassy in Cuba over the mysterious attacks, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has suggested

By Alexandra Wilts Washington DC

The top security official at the US embassy in Havana, Cuba is said to be among those affected by mysterious attacks that have resulted in a range of injuries. 

At least 21 Americans associated with the embassy have experienced a host of unexplained health problems, including mild traumatic brain injury, permanent hearing loss, loss of balance, severe headaches and brain swelling, according to the American Foreign Service Association.

CBS News has reported that the embassy’s Regional Security Officer, who is responsible for serving as the embassy’s senior law enforcement and security adviser, has been scheduled to undergo medical treatment. 

Last week, several Republican senators expressed concern about the attacks in a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. They called on him to expel all Cuban diplomats in the US, and – if the Cuban government does not take action to remove the threats – consider closing the American embassy in Havana. 

During an interview on CBS’s Face the Nation, Mr Tillerson suggested the US could shut down the recently reopened embassy. 

“It’s a very serious issue with respect to the harm that certain individuals have suffered,” Mr Tillerson said. “We’ve brought some of those people home. It’s under review.”

Cuba has denied any involvement in the attacks. The country has also offered to let the FBI go to Havana and investigate, suggesting to some American officials that the Cuban government is equally bewildered about the cause of the assaults. 

Closing the US embassy in Havana would be another reversal by the Trump administration of former President Barack Obama’s Cuba policy, which was aimed at fostering a warmer relationship with the Cuban government. 

The Obama administration opened the US embassy in Havana in 2015 and began allowing American tourists to visit the country. 

But Mr Trump has called his predecessor’s deal with Cuba “terrible and misguided”. In June, he moved to reinstate travel and commercial restrictions. 

Led by Raúl Castro, Cuba is considered one of the world’s last remaining socialist countries. 

Earlier this month, US officials speculated that the health problems of the 21 Americans may have been caused by some sort of sonic attack or possibly a surveillance operation. 

The attacks have also hit diplomats from Canada, which has warmer relations with Cuba than the US. 

“The investigation into all of this is still underway. It is an aggressive investigation,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said last week. “We will continue doing this until we find out who or what is responsible for this.”


The Washington Post, September 17, 2017

U.S. considering closing its embassy in Cuba

By Carol Morello September 17 at 12:41 PM

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday that the United States is considering closing the U.S. Embassy in Havana in response to mysterious hearing problems that have left at least 21 employees with serious health issues.

“We have it under evaluation,” Tillerson said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” when asked about calls by some senators to shutter the diplomatic mission. “It’s a very serious issue, with respect to the harm that certain individuals have suffered, and we’ve brought some of those people home. It’s under review.”

Closing the embassy would be a serious setback to relations between the United States and Cuba, two Cold War adversaries whose enmity stretched more than half a century before they restored diplomatic relations and upgraded their missions into embassies in 2015.

But at least 21 Americans who worked in the U.S. Embassy in Cuba have reported medical problems since late last year, when percussive attacks on their residences began. The incidents apparently continued into 2017. Two Cuban diplomats have been expelled from the embassy in Washington in response.

The State Department did not talk publicly about the incident until August, months after the problems were uncovered.

Some of the victims suffered mild traumatic brain injuries, hearing loss and other neurological and physical ailments, said the union representing Foreign Service officers. The FBI is investigating what the union calls “sonic harassment attacks” on the diplomats. A Canadian diplomat also reported similar problems.

Cuba has denied any responsibility for the attacks.

Cuban President Raúl Castro called in the then-head of the U.S. mission, Jeffrey DeLaurentis, to express concern.

Five Republican senators wrote Tillerson last week asking him to close the embassy and expel Cuba’s diplomats from the United States.

“We ask that you immediately declare all accredited Cuban diplomats in the United States persona non grata and, if Cuba does not take tangible action, close the U.S. Embassy in Havana,” the senators wrote. “Cuba’s neglect of its duty to protect our diplomats and their families cannot go unchallenged.”