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US Pulls 60% of Staff From Cuba, Limits Travel

30 September 2017

"Over the past several months, numerous U.S. Embassy Havana employees have been targeted in specific attacks", the State Department wrote in a statement on its website.

The State Department is also pulling "nonemergency US government employees and their family members". "Until the government of Cuba can assure the safety of US government personnel in Cuba our embassy will be reduced to emergency personnel so as to minimize the number of u.s. government personnel at risk of exposure". "These employees have suffered significant injuries as a effect of these attacks".

The attacks, believed to have taken place in Havana hotels, have caused a range of symptoms including hearing loss, headaches, dizziness and balance and cognitive issues.

On the same day of the Tillerson-Rodriguez meeting, sources familiar with the investigation said that the Trump administration does not believe Cuba is responsible for the attacks against U.S. embassy staff.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has met with his Cuban counterpart to express his profound concern over the safety and security of its diplomats in Havana after mysterious ailments affected 21 American embassy staff.

The Trump administration has also considered smaller-scale steps such as withdrawing all nonessential personnel from Havana, leaving the embassy technically open but unable to perform its full range of functions unless and until the health concerns are resolved, us officials have said.

As for travelers, the State Department has issued a warning for anyone thinking of traveling to the island.

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Still the State Department did not administer the ultimate punishment - tossing out Cuba's diplomats serving in the U.S.

Though Washington has not cast direct blame on Cuban authorities, the State Department said Tillerson reminded Rodriguez at Tuesday's meeting of Cuba's obligation to protect diplomats and their families.

The action comes after a meeting between Tillerson and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Eduardo Rodriguez Parilla early this week, failed to find a solution to the health attacks. FBI investigators and other agents searched and found no devices at the homes and hotels of USA diplomats. The Donald Trump administration has, so far, not pointedly blamed Cuba for perpetrating the attacks. Cuban officials have denied allegations that such attacks are being committed by the government and because some Canadian diplomats have experienced symptoms as well.

The United States has officially stopped issuing visas for travel to Cuba indefinitely after more than half of the embassy staffers in Havana were pulled out due to a string of sonic attacks. Some experts speculating that some kind of sonic weapon or faulty surveillance device may have been at fault.

"Protecting the safety of our diplomats is of utmost importance". Who wins from attacking U.S. and Canadian diplomatic missions in Havana?

"The State Department must swiftly develop contingency plans to continue to allow families to travel from the island", Castor said. Following 56 years of a strict embargo and sanctions, former President Barack Obama reopened relations with Cuba in 2015. They have launched an investigation but the cause of the health problems has not been found.

President Trump has reversed some of those changes but, for the most part, the two countries remained on a path towards friendliness. Cuba's embassy had no immediate comment.

US Pulls 60% of Staff From Cuba, Limits Travel