U.S. issues travel warning for Cuba, pulls staff after mystery attacks

by WorldTribune Staff, September 29, 2017

The United States has issued a travel warning advising U.S. citizens to avoid visiting Cuba and has called for non-emergency U.S. Embassy staff in Havana to leave the country, the State Department said on Sept. 29.

U.S. Embassy in Havana. / AP

In the past several months, 21 U.S. Embassy employees in Cuba have suffered a variety of injuries from attacks of an unknown nature, the State Department said.

“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.”

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that “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.”

Tillerson said the U.S. has 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 State Department “does not have definitive answers on the cause or source of the attacks and is unable to recommend a means to mitigate exposure,” Tillerson said.

The U.S. will maintain diplomatic relations with Cuba, Tillerson said, adding that “Cuba has told us it will continue to investigate these attacks and we will continue to cooperate with them in this effort.”

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