The State Department is coming under fire after an internal document shows officials knew about the extent of the injuries to its diplomats in Cuba long before it acknowledged them. Veuer’s Nick Cardona (@nickcardona93) has that story.
The U.S. State Department, responding to a series of mysteriousÂ “attacks” on diplomats in Havana, warnedÂ Americans on Friday againstÂ travel to Cuba and orderedÂ more than half of its diplomatic personnel to leave the island.
The warningÂ comes as the Trump White House was already moving to reverse the Obama administration’s easing of travel restrictions two years agoÂ as part of an effortÂ to improve relations between the longtime enemies.
In 2015, Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro restored diplomatic ties. Embassies re-opened, and travel and commerce restrictions eased. President Trump has reversed some changes, but broadly left the rapprochement in place.
The latest decision will deliver a heavy blowÂ to the Cuban economy, which increasingly depends on tourism.Â
The State Department, in issuing theÂ formal travel warning, said on its website that the U.S. has been unable to identify the source of the attacks on diplomats and believesÂ that “U.S. citizensÂ may also be at risk.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement that while there are no reports that private U.S. citizens have been affected “the attacks are known to have occurred in U.S. diplomatic residences and hotels frequented by U.S. citizens.”
He said the decision to pull out non-emergencyÂ diplomatic personnel and their families was done to ensure their safety.