November 18, 2017

United States Reduces Embassy Staff, Warns Americans not to Travel to Cuba, and Suspends Visas for Cubans

 

U.S. Flag Flaps Outside U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba (25998479275).jpg

UPDATE: The U.S. embassy in Havana, Cuba was reopened in the summer of 2015 as part of former President Obama’s shameful détente with the Cuban bloody regime. The sonic and ultrasonic attacks on American and Canadian diplomats and their families in Havana happened inside the homes provided by the regime to diplomats and at multiple hotels in Havana. These outrageous attacks may have also happened inside the embassy itself. These attacks started in late 2016 when Barack Obama was president. He covered up the severe injuries inflicted to Americans in Havana. The Department of State under Secretary Rex Tillerson has not reported these injuries on a timely manner. Why the delay in informing the America people of the diabolical incidents against American and Canadian diplomats in Cuba?

The United States is withdrawing about 60 % of the approximately 50 embassy staff in Havana, warning American travelers not to visit the island, and stopping the processing of visas for Cuban travelers to the United States indefinitely due to the sonic and ultrasonic attacks on U.S. diplomats and their families. On September 29, 2017, President Donald Trump expressed outrage at the injuries of diplomats at the U.S. embassy. The president said that in Cuba “they did some very bad things” that hurt American diplomats, but he did not state who he might meant by “they.”

On September 29, 2017, Nora Gámez Torres wrote an article titled “U.S. suspends all visas for Cubans, withdraws most staff from embassy in Havana” which was published by the Miami Herald. The reporter said that “Cuban Americans trying to have their relatives join them from the island will not be able to do so — at least for the time being.” She added that “It is not known how long the suspension of the visa reunification program will last.”

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Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson has delayed reporting on the acoustic attacks against American diplomats in Havana. Was there a cover up by the Department of State?

Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson said that in the fall of 2016 American diplomats had been attacked with covert sonar weapons. U.S. diplomats began suffering unexplained loss of hearing and memory problems. Two Cuban diplomats were expelled from Washington, D.C. in May 2017, yet the news of their expulsion and the illnesses of U.S. diplomats suffered in the fall of 2016 were not revealed until August 2017, months after it had occurred.

Why were these events not reported earlier? On August 11, 2017, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson said the illnesses were a result of “health attacks,” and added, “We’ve not been able to determine who’s to blame.”

Gámez Torres explained that the Department of State has issued a new alert warning Americans not to travel to the island because of the attacks. This writer believes that if it is dangerous for American citizens and permanent residents to visit the island, America needs to stop all travel to Cuba.

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The Seal of the Department of State

On September 29, 2017, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made the following statements regarding U.S. government personnel in Cuba:

“Over the past several months, 21 U.S. Embassy employees have suffered a variety of injuries from attacks of an unknown nature. The affected individuals have exhibited a range of physical symptoms, including ear complaints, hearing loss, dizziness, headache, fatigue, cognitive issues, and difficulty sleeping. Investigators have been unable to determine who is responsible or what is causing these attacks.”

“On September 29, the Department ordered the departure of non-emergency personnel assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Havana, as well as all family members. Until the Government of Cuba can ensure the safety of our diplomats in Cuba, our Embassy will be reduced to emergency personnel in order to minimize the number of diplomats at risk of exposure to harm.”

“In conjunction with the ordered departure of our diplomatic personnel, the Department has issued a Travel Warning advising U.S. citizens to avoid travel to Cuba and informing them of our decision to draw down our diplomatic staff. We have no reports that private U.S. citizens have been affected, but the attacks are known to have occurred in U.S. diplomatic residences and hotels frequented by U.S. citizens. The Department does not have definitive answers on the cause or source of the attacks and is unable to recommend a means to mitigate exposure.”

“The decision to reduce our diplomatic presence in Havana was made to ensure the safety of our personnel. We maintain diplomatic relations with Cuba, and our work in Cuba continues to be guided by the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States. Cuba has told us it will continue to investigate these attacks and we will continue to cooperate with them in this effort.”

“The health, safety, and well-being of our Embassy community is our greatest concern. We will continue to aggressively investigate these attacks until the matter is resolved.”

But why has the Department of States waited so long to take this measure to protect American diplomats and their families? If diplomats were attacked in their homes, why is the Department of State not informing Americans regarding the wives and children of the diplomats who may also have been severely injured? Is this another cover up?

Gámez Torres pointed out that “the State Department announced the suspension of visas for Cubans without having finalized the details on how the U.S. embassy in Havana will handle this situation.” The reporter said that another official said “that perhaps Cubans could apply for visas in third countries without explaining how the procedure would work.”

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Hotel Capri in Havana was one of the hotels where an American diplomat was injured by a sonic or ultrasonic device attack.

Why are Americans not being informed of the names of the other hotels where sonic or ultrasonic attacks took place against Americans? American tourists may be staying or stayed in the hotels that are being or were subjected to acoustic attacks.

U.S. officials said that in addition to Americans being attacked in their homes, a U.S. diplomat was attacked at the recently renovated Hotel Capri, a 60-year-old concrete tower which is located steps from the famous Havana’s Malecon, the waterside promenade. Now it was revealed that American diplomats were attacked at other hotels as well.

Senator Rubio wants the United States to expel Cuban diplomats from Washington.

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Republican Senator Marco Rubio from Florida

Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio criticized the administration for not going further. “Shameful that the State Department withdraws most staff from the U.S. Embassy in Cuba but [Raúl] Castro can keep as many as he wants in U.S.,” the Florida senator tweeted.

On September 29, 2017, Susan Crabtree wrote an article titled “Rubio Renews Call for Trump Administration to Expel Cubans from the U.S.” which was published in the website of the Washington Free Beacon. The reporter said that Senator Marco Rubio is calling on the Trump administration to expel Cuban diplomats from the United States. On September 29, 2017, the Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio questioned the logic of continuing to allow Cuban diplomats to stay in the United States but reducing the staff at rhe U.S. embassy in Havana to emergency-only staff. Senator Rubio tweeted for the second time, “So Castro regime allows attacks on Americans forcing us to drawdown to keep them safe but he gets to keep about the same # of people here?”

Crabtree said that the measure effectively reverses many aspects of President Barack Obama’s policy of normalizing relations with Cuba, but Secretary Tillerson “tried to downplay the decision’s impact on diplomatic and commercial ties between the two countries.” An American official earlier told reporters that “for the foreseeable future, any bilateral meetings between U.S. and Cuban officials would take place on American soil, not Cuban.”

Susan Crabtree stated the following: “Speculation in the foreign-policy community has focused on the possibility of Russia or another third party as the likely perpetrators but Cuba experts say the Castro regime monitors Americans so closely on the island that it’s impossible they would not know about or have some complicity with such activity. The fact that some of the attacks targeted at least one U.S. diplomat staying in a hotel and happened as recently as August led to the State Department’s decision to issue the travel warning to all Americans.” The U.S. official said, “The fact that some of these attacks have occurred at hotels where American citizens could be at, and we have no way of advising American citizens how we can mitigate these attacks, we felt we must warn them not to travel to Cuba.”

Crabtree pointed out that while U.S. officials said Cuba is still cooperating with the investigation, they stressed that “the probe has produced little usable information that could help protect Americans staying there.” The government official said, “We don’t know the means or the methods or how these attacks are being carried out,” noting that it appears that U.S. embassy personnel are most at risk. “But we cannot rule out given the nature of these attacks that the American public traveling to Cuba might be at risk as well,” the official added.

Crabtree concluded her article by stating the following: “Washington’s foreign-policy community was bracing for the move. Two sources familiar with the State Department’s deliberations told the Washington Free Beacon over the last two days that State was putting the final touches on a new sanctions package that would go beyond reducing staffs at both embassies and that an announcement could come as early as Friday. One source said the State Department had to overcome strong “bureaucratic” resistance among supporters of Obama’s rapprochement to take the dramatic step of reducing staff at the U.S. embassy in Havana to emergency personnel only.”

On September 15, 2017, Susan Crabtree wrote an article titled “GOP Senators Urge Trump to Expel Cuban Diplomats from U.S., Threaten to Shutter Embassy” which was published in The Washington Free Beacon website. The reporter said that five important Republican senators asked the Trump administration to expel Cuban diplomats from Washington, D.C. immediately and even close the American embassy in Havana if the Cuban regime is not more forthcoming about the mysterious “acoustic” attacks that have seriously harmed the health of many U.S. diplomats.

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Senator John Cornyn from Texas is a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. He also serves as the Senate majority whip and is the Number Two Republican leader in the upper chamber.

Crabtree wrote that on September 15, 2017, GOP Senators John Cornyn of Texas, Marco Rubio of Florida, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Richard Burr of North Carolina, and James Lankford of Oklahoma sent a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson asking him to take action regarding the harassment and acoustic attacks on American diplomats in Cuba. The senators want Secretary Tillerson to immediately declare all accredited Cuban diplomats in the United States as “persona non grata” and expell them from America. The Republican senators wrote “that if Cuba does not take tangible action to remove these threats to the diplomats and their families, to take the decisive step of closing the U.S. embassy in Havana.” They also said that Secretary Tillerson needs to remind the Cuban regime of its obligation to protect U.S. diplomats and their families under international treaties.

The letter written by the five GOP senators stated the following:

“Our officials and their families have been the targets of unacceptable levels of harassment and ‘acoustic’ attacks that, in some cases, have caused permanent hearing damage and other significant injuries. The safety of U.S. diplomatic personnel and their families posted overseas remains one of our high priorities and a shared responsibility of those nations that host U.S. diplomatic facilities.”

“Cuba’s neglect of its duty to protect our diplomats and their families cannot go unchallenged. We appreciate your attention to this important national security matter and look forward to your timely response.”

Crabtree pointed out that the five senators “have waited more than a month to request that President Donald Trump threaten to close the embassies, a step that would reverse much of the efforts to normalize diplomatic relations taken by President Barack Obama.” She also said that in mid-August 2017, the Washington Free Beacon was the first to report that the “U.S. government was hiding key details of the mystery attacks on U.S. diplomats in Cuba and may have misled the public and Congress on the full scope and nature of the attacks.”

Crabtree explained that U.S. officials in early August 2017 said that approximately six Americans were the victims of the attacks when the actual number of U.S. diplomats was significant higher—in the double digits. Crabtree stated the following: “In addition to the greater number of U.S. persons harmed by the sonic device, sources told the Washington Free Beacon that some Americans stationed in Havana began experiencing symptoms months earlier than the State Department has publicly admitted, and that the symptoms they suffered included permanent hearing loss, sleeplessness as well as damage to some diplomats’ brain function and cognitive abilities.”

Republican senators who wrote the letter to Secretary of State Tillerson serve on the Senate Intelligence Committee and on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Senator Richard Burr from North Carolina is the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Senator Marco Rubio from Florida is also a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which has jurisdiction over the State Department and diplomatic personnel. Senator John Cornyn from Texas also serves as the Senate majority whip, the Number Two GOP leader in the upper chamber. James Lankford from Oklahoma serves on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Senator Tom Cotton from Arkansas serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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Senator Richard Burr from North Carolina is the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Cuban communist official Josefina Vidal, who is the Director General for the U.S. Affairs Division in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told the Cuban press that “We consider that the decision announced by the State Department is hasty and will affect bilateral relations, in particular, cooperation on issues of mutual interest and exchanges of a different nature between the two countries.” She added that Cuba wants “to continue an active cooperation between the authorities of the two countries, for the full clarification of these facts, for which a more efficient US involvement will be essential.”

US Cuba (2)

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Josefina Vidal has been Director General for the U.S. Affairs Division in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 2013. In August 2017, it was reported that Vidal had travelled to Moscow in late July for talks with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and the Cuban Ambassador in Moscow Emilio Lozada Garcia. Why did Vidal travel to Moscow? Did Cuba allow the Russians to attack American diplomats? Is Cuba asking for Moscow’s help to deal with this crisis?

Cuban-American Congressman Carlos Curbelo from South Florida said he wants the government to do more “to hold the Cuban dictatorship accountable” but added that “changes in visa policies should focus on denying entry to the United States to Cuban government officials and those who through their actions buttress the dictatorship — not everyday Cubans attempting to visit their families.”

There are 21 confirmed cases of affected persons, not 25 as originally reported, said Gámez Torres. She said the following: “Another State Department source said that the attacks did not occur at the U.S. embassy. American authorities believe the attacks occurred at diplomats’ homes — all leased from Cuban government — and in the Hotel Capri in Havana. In the press conference Friday, the high-ranking State Department official said he was unaware of any attack on U.S citizens who were not diplomatic staff. But the significance of the attacks and the fact that they occurred in at least one hotel prompted the government to issue the travel alert to protect Americans. Diplomatic personnel who suffered attacks at hotels were temporary staff at the embassy, he said.”

This writer thinks that if American diplomats were attacked and injured in their homes, family members also are also likely to have been injured. “Not been aware,” as the American official said, is not acceptable!

Bruno Rodriguez speaks to UN in 2017

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez met recently with Secretary Tillerson in Washington.

Cuban regime Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez in a speech at the United Nations once again denied any Cuban responsibility and said that the Cuban government complies with its obligations to protect all diplomats on the island. Cuba has a very long history of harassing and subjecting to oppressive surveillance American diplomats in Havana.

Secretary Tillerson and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez met recently in Washington, D.C. According to a State Department statement, Secretary Tillerson “conveyed the seriousness of the situation and underscored the Cuban authorities’ obligations to protect Embassy staff and their families under the Vienna Convention.”Anti-embargo politicians present compromise on Trump’s Cuba policy change 2:30 The meeting was requested by the Cuban government.

Gámez Torres stated the following: “From the outset, the Cuban government has denied responsibility in the attacks and allowed entry to the FBI island to investigate. But remarks by Rodriguez, considered a conservative in government, did not appear to alleviate the crisis. According to a previous statement by the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Relations, Rodríguez told Tillerson that according to the preliminary results obtained by the Cuban authorities in their investigation, which has taken into account data provided by the U.S. authorities, there is as yet no evidence of the causes and origin of health conditions reported by U.S. diplomats. The Cuban foreign minister also complained about what he called the unjustified decision of the U.S. government to expel two Cuban diplomats from Washington and added it would be unfortunate to politicize a case of this nature and to make hasty and unsupported decisions on inconclusive evidence and investigative results.”

The U.S. actions are sure to damage the ties between America and Cuba that only recently began putting their hostility behind. The U.S. Embassy in Cuba has had approximately 50 Americans working there.

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This photo shows the Cuban embassy in Washington, D.C.

The Trump administration expelled two Cuban diplomats from Washington, D.C. in May 2017 because Cuba had failed in its obligation to keep American diplomats safe. Strangely, Americans were not informed until several weeks later. Why?

Conclusion

Date: 01/27/2009 Description: Map of Cuba. State Dept Photo

Map of Cuba showing the location of its capital, Havana, where up to 21 American diplomats and some Canadian diplomats were injured with sonic or ultrasonic weapons. American cruise ships visit many cities in Cuba, including Havana, Santiago de Cuba, and Cienfuegos, which bring millions to the members of the communist Mafia who runs Cuba. Over 200,000 cruise ship passengers will visit Cuba in 2017. How would these cruise ship passengers traveling to Cuba will be affected by the travel warning from the Department of State? And those who go to Cuba by air or private boats?

It is disconcerting to this writer why America has tolerated so much abuse from the mass murdering Cuban totalitarian regime for almost 60 years. Cuban thugs tortured and killed American pilots in Hanoi and Havana during the Viet Nam War. Cuban pilots flew Migs against American aircraft and a Cuban engineer brigade called Girón operated in the Ho Chi Ming Trail during that war. Cuba has sent tons of drugs to America over the years and Cuban intelligence agents have committed fraud in the billions of dollars against Medicare, Medicaid, and private companies. Cuban spies have penetrated the Departments of Defense and State, as well as the CIA. Cuba has been and continuous to be a center of world-wide terrorism.

Cuba has an Occupation Army in Venezuela led by generals and assisted by its intelligence services. Venezuela sends financial help to Iran’s militia Hezbollah. Venezuela sends uranium to Iran, its close ally.

The fates of their communist regimes are interrelated. Venezuela and Cuba are national security threats to the United States and both are close allies of Russia and China. Venezuela and Cuba are strong allies and both nations assist Islamic terrorist groups. There is a Hamas office in Havana.

Even now the United States has taken pains not to accuse Havana of perpetrating the sonic and ultrasonic attacks. Nothing in Cuba occurs without the permission of the late tyrant Fidel Castro and later his equally brutal brother dictator Raúl Castro. This writer agrees with the five prominent Republican senators who told Secretary Tillerson that “Cuba’s neglect of its duty to protect our diplomats and their families cannot go unchallenged.” This writer agrees with Senator Rubio that the United States should expel all Cuban diplomats from Washington, D.C.

The FBI must conclude quickly its investigation to determine if the Castro regime was responsible for the 50 attacks on American diplomats. If it is determined that the Cuban regime was involved or tolerated a third country to attack American diplomats, then the Trump administration will need to consider all of the recommendations outlined by this writer which include breaking diplomatic relations with the brutal regime and implement regime change strategies. America should not tolerate such abuse to at least 21 of its diplomats and their families.

Today in Cuba there is more repression, beatings of peaceful opponents, and arbitrary arrests than before the restoration of United States diplomatic relations with the communist regime by President Obama. President Trump has severely criticized the enormous abuses of human and civil rights by the Castro regime. Upholding the Helms-Burton Law is crucial. Restating the important parts of the Helms-Burton Law is necessary and President Trump did it in his speech in Miami. The president stated the following: “We will not lift sanctions on the Cuban regime until all political prisoners are free, freedoms of assembly and expression are respected, all political parties are legalized and free and internationally supervised elections are scheduled.”

If such a courageous regime change policy is implemented successfully by President Donald J. Trump, he would go down in history as the Liberator of two mass murdering communist regimes that have brought much suffering to their people and other nations in the world.

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