(Brendan Clarey, Liberty Headlines) Five Republican senators have asked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to close Cuba’s embassy and expel all Cuban diplomats from the United States.
This comes in the wake of secret sonic attacks that left more than twenty American and Canadian diplomats staying in Cuba with permanent hearing or brain damage.
Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR), Richard Burr (R-NC), John Cornyn (R-TX), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and James Lankford (R-OK) all signed a letter asking the Tillerson to retaliate against Cuba for the attacks.
“We write today concerning the injuries sustained by multiple U.S. diplomatic personnel posted to the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba,” the letter said. “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 Senators emphasize the need to protect American diplomats and respond in kind to the attacks.
“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,” the letter continued.
“We urge you to remind the Cuban government of its obligation and to demand that it take verifiable action to remove these threats to our personnel and their families. Furthermore, we ask that you immediately declare all accredited Cuban diplomats in the United States persona non grata and, if Cuba does not take tangible action, close the U.S. Embassy in Havana.”
The letter concluded: “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.”
State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert told Fox News that there are at least 21 diplomats that have been diagnosed with some symptoms of the weapon, and there is a possibility the number might go up.
“They continue to undergo tests,” Nauert said, noting that personnel “are able to leave Havana, leave Cuba, and return back home if they wish.”
“The investigation into all of this is still underway,” she told Fox News. “It is an aggressive investigation that continues, and we will continue doing this until we find out who or what is responsible for this.”
Cuban president Raul Castro has denied responsibility for the attacks. Castro spoke with diplomats directly, the AP reported.
The attacks started late last year and were first reported to the Cuban government in February this year, according to the New York Times, but since then more diplomats have been diagnosed with similar symptoms.
The State Department released a vague statement earlier this summer after removing two Cuban diplomats from the Washington embassy in May. Subsequent State Department press briefings revealed that at least 16 Americans were affected by the weapon without pointing any blame at the Cuban government.
“As a general matter, I know that various governments have seen that kind of behavior from the Cuban Government in the past. But again, we’re not assigning responsibility at this point. We don’t know who the perpetrator was of these incidents,” Nauert told reporters in August.
“The investigation is ongoing and we will continue to try to find the source of these incidents and the perpetrator,” she said at the time.
Cuban officials have invited the FBI to investigate, a surprising gesture from a historically antagonistic nation, the AP reported.