United States expels 2 Cuban diplomats after incidents in Cuba

United States expels 2 Cuban diplomats after incidents in Cuba

The Associated Press, one of the few Western news outlets with offices in the Cuban capital, reported from Havana that the injuries may have been caused by sonic equipment that Cuban intelligence officers installed in the U.S. Embassy or residences of its staff.

The incidents resulted in a "variety of physical symptoms", prompting some U.S. government personnel to leave the island, Nauert said at the State Department's press briefing on Wednesday.

"What this requires is providing medical examinations to these people, initially when they started reporting what I will just call 'symptoms, ' it took time to figure out what it was", State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said on Wednesday.

"We're taking this incident very seriously, and it's under investigation right now". "We don't have any definitive answers about the source or the cause of what we consider to be incidents", she said.

The affected diplomats and their spouses began to experience symptoms of hearing loss so severe that an investigation was launched, and it was determined that they were at risk, the unnamed officials told AP.

Nauert said the government was taking it "very seriously, and there is an investigation now under way". Like all foreign diplomats in Cuba, they lived in housing owned and maintained by the Cuban government.


There has been no immediate official reaction from Cuba.

President Donald Trump announced his intent to restrict USA citizens ability to travel to Cuba in late June after the Obama administration restored relations with the country in 2016.

Washington and Havana only re-established ties in 2015, following 50 years of hostilities between the two countries.

Last year, President Obama traveled to Cuba, looking to warm the long-frozen relations with the Communist-run island.

In June, Trump announced that he was "canceling the last administration's completely one-sided deal with Cuba".

"The safety and security of US citizens is our top priority", Nauert said, adding that "the Cuban government has a responsibility and obligation to protect our diplomats under the Geneva Convention". Through the decades, even when the United States and Cuba did not have formal diplomatic relations, Cuban intelligence agencies specialized in surveilling Americans stationed on, or visiting, the island.

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