The United States has said it is withdrawing 60 percent of its diplomatic staff and all family members from its Cuban embassy after 21 diplomats suffered acoustic attacks in recent months.
Washington is still investigating the cause of the mysterious health attacks and is yet to identify the culprit, but officials stressed on Friday that the Cuban government has the responsibility of protecting foreign diplomats within its territory.
The Cuban government denies any role and has launched its own investigation into the issue. L Havana said last week, that it found no evidence supporting America’s claim that several of her diplomats were harmed in what Rex Tillerson, the US Secretary of State called surreptitious “health attacks”.
The US says until the Cuban government can ensure the safety of US government personnel in Cuba, its embassy will be reduced to only emergency personnel so as to minimize the number of government personnel at risk of the attacks.
American diplomats experienced mysterious health problems such as hearing loss, ear problems, headache, dizziness, fatigue, difficulty in sleeping from the attacks that occurred lately as August, US officials claim. These attacks, they claim have resulted in mild traumatic brain injury as well as permanent hearing loss.
The FBI and other intelligence agencies have searched homes and hotels where the incidents took place and found no devices that would help to determine the cause or source of the attacks.
The embassy in Cuba will remain open but visa processing will be suspended, while a travel warning has been issued advising its citizens to avoid traveling to Cuba.
Former President Barack Obama had reopened diplomatic relations with Cuba in 2015 after more than 50 years.
US President Donald Trump has said his administration is not lifting sanctions on Cuba has also taken steps to roll back Obama’s reforms towards Cuba.