US Officials in Cuba Suffer Mystery Illness, Igniting Fresh Diplomatic Storm

US Officials in Cuba Suffer Mystery Illness, Igniting Fresh Diplomatic Storm

US Officials in Cuba Suffer Mystery Illness, Igniting Fresh Diplomatic Storm

The US State Department has expelled two Cuban diplomats from the US over safety concerns of American officials who reported experiencing unexplained "physical symptoms" while working in Cuba.

The FBI and the Diplomatic Security Service have initiated an investigation related to the incident and the American government has already suspended the activity of two Cuban diplomats from the Washington Embassy on May 23rd.

It was not immediately clear what had happened, with spokeswoman Heather Nauert saying there were no "definitive answers about the source or cause".

In Cuba, an acoustic attack may be to blame for severe hearing loss among U.S diplomats a year ago, though officials are uncertain of the cause the injuries.

The continuous symptoms reportedly prompted the officials to leave, which first led the State Department to begin looking into the matter.

Ms Nauert said staff began complaining of the unusual symptoms late previous year.

U.S. diplomats in Cuba said they suffered occasional harassment for years after the restoration of limited ties with the communist government in the 1970s, harassment reciprocated by USA agents against Cuban diplomats in Washington.

It's in response to a series of incidents that left American diplomats in Cuba with physical symptoms.

However, The Washington Post reports that USA officials believe Cuba used "a covert sonic weapon that left the victims with severe hearing loss".

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The US embassy in Havana only opened in 2015 as part of former President Obama's rapprochement with Cuba.

A State Department spokesperson said the U.S. has reminded the Cuban government of its obligation to protect diplomats under the Vienna Convention, CBS Radio reported.

Later Wednesday, the Cuban government confirmed the report.

The ministry said it had created an expert committee to analyze the incidents and had reinforced security around the USA embassy and US diplomatic residences. Officials cautioned the AP that Cuba may have been unaware the attacks were happening, and that a third country like Russian Federation may have been responsible.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reaffirms that Cuba complies rigorously and seriously with all its obligations arising from the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations in connection with the protection and inviolability of diplomatic agents and the premises of diplomatic missions.

Global Affairs Canada, the coutnry's foreign ministry, says the government is working with the United States and Cuban governments to find out what happened. We're taking that situation seriously and it's under investigation right now. Meanwhile, Cuba had strengthened security around the U.S. Embassy, diplomatic and staff residences. CNN quotes an unnamed official who stated, "We have worked with the Cubans to try and find out what is going on".

"This has not stopped with President Obama's appeasement".

"Cuba has never, nor would ever, allow the Cuban territory to be used for any kind of action against accredited diplomats or their families", the ministry said.

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