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US May Close Embassy in Cuba Due to Health Concerns

19 September 2017

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the United States is considering closing its embassy in Cuba following a number of "health attacks" on American diplomats there. "It's a very serious issue, with respect to the harm that certain individuals have suffered, and we've brought some of those people home". "So, we decided to make this gesture and show the Cuban government and people that they are in our thoughts".

A handful of GOP senators have called on Tillerson to take stronger action to protect U.S. diplomats from acoustic attacks in Cuba.

At least 21 American diplomats and their family members have experienced odd health symptoms in the a year ago, including permanent hearing loss, mild traumatic brain injury, loss of balance, severe headaches, brain swelling, and concentration problems.

Washington says at least 16 employees at its Havana embassy - which fully reopened in 2015 after a half-century breakdown in diplomatic relations - were injured in a series of incidents that began previous year.

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Some of the 21 Americans affected, including diplomats and their families, have permanent hearing loss or concussions while others suffered nausea, headaches, and ear-ringing. Others heard nothing, but later developed symptoms.

Some victims felt vibrations or heard loud sounds mysteriously audible in only parts of rooms, leading investigators to consider a potential "sonic attack".

Cuba has denied involvement.

Reports state that the initial reaction of the Cuban president, Raúl Castro, to the failing health of the USA diplomats has caught American officials off guard. Donald Trump's administration said it had taken the measure in response to Cuba's failure to protect the US officials under the Vienna Convention.

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The next year embassies were re-opened and restrictions on travel and commerce eased - signs of a warming relationship that displeased some hard-liners in Cuba's government.

Investigators have suggested the possibility that the attacks have been carried out by a third party, like Russian Federation, unbeknownst to the Cuban government. Marco Rubio of Florida, a prominent Cuban-American and critic of the US detente.

"Cuba's neglect of its duty to protect our diplomats and their families can not go unchallenged", wrote the lawmakers, who included Sen.

The U.S. said in August it had expelled two Cuban diplomats from the country's embassy in Washington D.C. after it revealed details of the suspected attack.

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US May Close Embassy in Cuba Due to Health Concerns