Cuba starts investigation into alleged incidents concerning U.S. diplomats

Cuba starts investigation into alleged incidents concerning U.S. diplomats

Cuba starts investigation into alleged incidents concerning U.S. diplomats

On the 20 of July, 2015, The United States restored diplomatic relations with Cuba but has maintained the commercial, economic, and financial embargo against the communist island.

A series of "bizarre" incidents attributed to a "covert sonic device" led to several U.S diplomats experiencing unexplained hearing losses, The Associated Press reported.

United States officials, speaking to the agency anonymously, said investigations had determined devices had been deployed either inside or outside diplomats' homes.

What was unclear was whether the device was being used as a weapon to target the Americans or whether it was being used for other purposes and the severe hearing loss among embassy staff was unintended.

Some subsequently got hearing aids, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert revealed Wednesday that American diplomats have been experiencing "symptoms" since late 2016, and that these symptoms were not seen among other USA citizens in Cuba. Cuba's foreign ministry said that in February it launched an "urgent investigation at the behest of the highest level of the Cuban government" into the incidents, adding that the country would never allow actions against diplomats and their families on its soil.

In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba said it took the issue seriously and acted in a professional manner in an attempt to clarify facts surrounding the situation by launching an investigation.

She said two Cuban diplomats were expelled from Washington in retaliation in late May.

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The US has also since expelled two Washington-based Cuban diplomats.

She added: "We had to bring some Americans home or some Americans chose to come home as a result of that".

About five diplomats, including some spouses, had been affected, but no children were involved, U.S. officials said. The FBI and Diplomatic Security Service are investigating.

Expulsions follow report of alleged use of covert sonic device in 2016 that left U.S. diplomats with severe hearing loss. Along with probing possible Cuban responsibility, investigators are also exploring the possibility that the attack was carried out by a third country, like Russian Federation, operating without the Cuban government's knowledge.

But it appears that things between the US and Cuba are no place near friendly now.

"We have reminded the Cuban government on various occasions that, under the Vienna Convention, this type of treatment of diplomatic personnel is unacceptable", the State Department official said at the time.

According to reports, the diplomats were targeted with a sonic device that had been placed or planted where they lived.

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