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The U.S. Is Pulling Most of Its Staff Out of Cuba After a Series of Mysterious Attacks

September 29, 2017

The U.S. is withdrawing about 60% of its embassy staff from Havana after attacks that caused traumatic brain injuries and permanent hearing loss in at least 21 diplomats and their families, according to the Associated Press.

The U.S. will also stop issuing visas in Havana and warn U.S. tourists against visiting Cuba under a travel order today. U.S. secretary of state Rex Tillerson had been considering closing the embassy entirely over concerns about the unexplained health issues.

Cuba, which is keen to maintain newly restored diplomatic relations with the U.S. has strenuously denied responsibility, and even invited the FBI to look into the matter. American officials believe Cuba is “probably not responsible,” the New York Times reported (paywall)....

...“Protecting the safety of our diplomats is of utmost importance. Yet such a broad announcement that extends to visitors to the island and the issuance of visas to Cubans will have a huge impact,” Alana Tummino, senior director of policy at the Americas Society/Council of the Americas, told Quartz.

“So much of the current bilateral relationship is based on rebuilding trust. The impact of this announcement together with the attacks are no doubt damaging to all that’s been accomplished the past couple years,” she added....

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