USA plans to withdraw staff from embassy in Cuba


The State Department said consular officials in the American embassy will still be available to assist any American citizens in Cuba. Cuba requested the meeting as the U.S. considers shuttering the newly re-opened U.S. Embassy in Havana, a response that would deal a devastating blow to the delicate rapprochement between the countries. The sources said the USA will stop issuing visas in Cuba effective immediately. He emphasized that the moves were meant to ensure the health and safety of embassy personnel, not to punish Cuba. However, a meeting this week between Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Eduardo Rodríguez Parrilla failed to convince officials that Cuba was doing enough to protect the safety of USA personnel or to aid with the investigation, CBS reported. It was the highest-level diplomatic contact between the two countries since Trump became U.S. president in January. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio has been vocal about his disapproval of establishing relations with Cuba.

The Cuban embassy in Washington remained in place, however, despite criticism from Sen. Symptoms of those affected include: "air complaints, hearing loss, dizziness, kenititis, balance problems, visual complaints, headache, fatigue, cognitive issues and difficulty sleeping", according to the US official.

Among the other measures announced three days after a meeting in Washington between the heads of the american diplomacy and the cuban, Rex Tillerson, and Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla: the granting of visas of routine americans to Cuba is "suspended indefinitely" and travel on-site for responsible government in the united states will be limited, for the moment, to the needs of the investigation into this troubling case.

Citing its own investigation, Cuba's embassy said after the meeting: "There is no evidence so far of the cause or the origin of the health disorders reported by the US diplomats". Some of the attacks occurred in hotels where State Department employees were temporarily staying, but there is no evidence so far that tourists or hotel employees have been affected, The New York Times reports. And the attacks have continued to occur as recently as August. The attack may have been the work of a country like Russian Federation or rogue government unit. Rodriguez added that his government also would never let a third party - such as another country hostile to the USA - use Cuban territory to attack Americans.

The United States does not eliminate the possibility of a third country being involved in sonic attacks against U.S. diplomats in Cuba, the official added.

Cuba and the United States resumed diplomatic relations in 2015 after more than 50 years of enmity, although the White House still imposes economic sanctions against Havana. The Donald Trump administration has, so far, not pointedly blamed Cuba for perpetrating the attacks.

Authorities at first thought it was a sonic weapon, but the "diagnosis of mild brain injury, considered unlikely to result from sound", has confused government agencies. Several U.S. lawmakers have called on the administration to expel all Cuban diplomats.

Investigators have struggled to identify the source of the attacks as symptoms vary markedly from person to person.

"The secretary told him independent of who is doing it, the Cubans have a responsibility for the safety and well-being of our people", a senior State Department official told CNN.

Victims told the AP they were able to walk "in and out" of blaring noises, which were only audible in certain rooms or parts of rooms.

"At this moment, we don't have definitive information about the source or cause of the attacks", said the official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity.

"The United States don't need to have any relationship with Cuba", says Nieto. Cuba's embassy had no immediate comment.