U.S. makes cuts to embassy staff in Havana official
A wire from Associated Press highlights that the announcement makes the U.S. decision last year to withdraw 60 percent of its diplomats from its embassy in Cuba, under the pretext of supposed “sonic attacks” against its personnel, practically permanent
Author: Sergio Alejandro Gómez | email@example.com
march 2, 2018 16:03:34
From March 5, the United States Embassy in Havana will operate as an “unaccompanied post,” according to an official media note from the U.S. Department of State, published March 2.
The document explains that “The U.S. Embassy in Havana has operated under ordered departure status since September 29, 2017, due to health attacks affecting U.S. Embassy Havana employees. It will reach the maximum allowable days in departure status on March 4.”
Meanwhile, a wire from Associated Press highlights that the announcement makes the U.S. decision last year to withdraw 60 percent of its diplomats from its embassy in Cuba, under the pretext of supposed “sonic attacks” against its personnel, practically permanent.
However, after months of investigations by Cuban and U.S. authorities, no evidence explaining the cause or origin of the alleged health issues suffered by U.S. diplomats has been found.
AP adds that by law, the State department can only order diplomats to leave temporarily for six months before either sending them back or making the reductions permanent.
Meanwhile, the State Department noted that “The embassy will continue to operate with the minimum personnel necessary to perform core diplomatic and consular functions.”
This is exactly how the Embassy has been functioning since September 2017, when the U.S. government withdrew the majority of its staff, paralyzing consular services for Cubans and only maintaining core diplomatic services and functions relating to emergencies.
The measure comes amidst growing calls from different sectors in the U.S. to normalize operations at both embassies and rescind travel warnings to Cuba.
A bicameral delegation of U.S. Congresspeople which visited the island last week described the withdrawal of diplomatic personnel as “a mistake,” noting that the decision affects people on both sides of the Florida Straits and puts collaboration initiatives between both countries since December 17, 2014, at risk.
Meanwhile, On March 1, around twenty tour operators demanded that Washington eliminate travel alerts regarding Cuba, noting that the island is recognized as one of the safest destinations for international travelers by specialist tour agencies and international bodies.
STATE DEPARTMENT RECEIVES HARSH CRITICISM