Diplomatic Relations With Cuba Deteriorating Rapidly

A guard stands at the entrance of the newly opened Cuban embassy in Washington D.C. in 2015

A guard stands at the entrance of the newly opened Cuban embassy in Washington D.C. in 2015

Multiple State Department employees returned home from the United States embassy in Cuba late previous year after suffering a variety of physical symptoms, the State Department said a news briefing Wednesday.

A group of American diplomats working in Havana were left with severe hearing loss due to a covert sonic device, USA officials have claimed. But diplomats said that after the U.S. and Cuba restored full diplomatic ties in 2015, the campaign of harassment stopped. She also did not note whether the expulsion of Cuban diplomats from Washington was a move to balance the number of diplomats in each country or whether those expelled were involved in the "incidents".

Wednesday's report suggests the alleged device operated outside the range of audible sound, and was deployed either inside or near the diplomats' residences.

Global Affairs Canada spokeswoman Brianne Maxwell said Thursday that agency officials "are aware of unusual symptoms affecting Canadian and US diplomatic personnel and their families in Havana".

But it appears that things between the US and Cuba are no place near friendly now. "And we take this extremely seriously".

"Various entities conducted an exhaustive, high-priority, urgent investigation ordered by the highest authorities of the Cuban government and requested the USA embassy to share information on these incidents, " said the statement.

Axios followed up on an Associated Press report Wednesday night that US officials stationed at the American Embassy in Havana "reported incidents which have caused a variety of physical symptoms".

"We requested their departure as a reciprocal measure since some USA personnel's assignments in Havana had to be curtailed due to these incidents", Nauert said.

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Cuban officials have denied directing actions against the diplomats and have launched their own investigation into the allegations.

In 2015, President Barack Obama reopened the American embassy in Cuba in an attempt to improve diplomatic relations with the country.

Nauert did not provide further details about the cause or consequences of the symptoms, other than to say that they were not life-threatening.

"We don't have any definitive information about the source or the cause", she said.

Some subsequently got hearing aids, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "It's virtually impossible for anyone to take action against an American diplomat without an element of the Cuban state being aware".

Several of the diplomats were recent arrivals at the embassy. The FBI and Diplomatic Security Service are investigating.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reaffirms that Cuba complies strictly and seriously with its obligations under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 regarding the protection of the integrity of diplomatic agents and the premises of the mission", the ministry added.

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