U.S. Measures, a New Setback to Relations with Cuba
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Washington, Oct 4 (Prensa Latina) The new steps taken by the United States in response to the recent incidents reported by U.S. diplomats in Havana are nowadays raising an alert among those who consider that Washington''s measures are wrong, or a warning of their aftermath on bilateral relations.

The U.S. Department of State on Tuesday ordered the expulsion of 15 Cuban diplomats from their embassy in Washington, D.C., just four days after announcing the departure of more than half of the non-emergency personnel assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Havana.


Such actions respond to U.S. foreign service members reporting some health problems in Havana, which Washington called 'attacks', despite the lack of evidence on what and how these symptoms were caused as probes are still ongoing.

U.S. Democratic Senator Ben Cardin, from Maryland, said in a statement that he was worried that this issue could deepen bilateral diplomatic tension and complicate the capacity to conduct an in-depth investigation into the incident.

According to Ben Cardin, the United States should not rush to take steps that could undermine bilateral relations with Cuba and U.S. policies geared to fostering national strategic interests in the hemisphere.

In this regard, the U.S. politician urged the Trump administration and the Department of State to consult Congress before taking any further actions, and added that the briefing meeting scheduled for this morning at the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations should provide its members with a clear understanding of this matter.

In turn, U.S. Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, from Vermont, stated that the United States has the right and duty to protect U.S. diplomats serving abroad.

However, he added that the United States, before taking reprisals against another nation by expelling its own diplomats, 'should have evidence that Cuba, rather than a third country or party, harmed our citizens.'

'We do not know who is doing or is behind all this or why, but I can assure that we are punishing Cuba for not preventing it. That will not help resolve the mystery of this serious offense, and it will not make our diplomats any safer,' the lawmaker said.

Leahy recalled that the ties between both nations are going through 'early stages' in most issues, and acknowledged that 'the Cuban government has shown its willingness to discuss some concerns that had not been ever addressed.'

According to Republican Congresswoman Barbara Lee, from California, the Donald Trump administration is using this recent incident to reverse the historic progress between the United States and Cuba.

Expelling Cuban diplomats from the United States will not guarantee U.S. citizens' safety, it will only take us back and jeopardize the restoration of bilateral ties between both nations, she said.

According to Barbara Lee, even if the Trump administration adheres to the past strategies, U.S. Congress people will keep on working to pursue diplomacy, expand trade and strengthen ties between the two peoples.

Last Friday, after the U.S. decision to withdraw diplomats from the U.S. Embassy in Havana was announced, Democratic Representative Kathy Castor expressed concern about the impact of the indefinite suspension of the U.S. visas proceeding in the Cuban capital.

Castor is worried that the announcement goes too far and unnecessarily damages the capacity of Cuban and U.S. families to travel and visit their relatives.

'The U.S. Department of State must quickly develop contingency plans to continue allowing relatives to travel from Cuba. Some neighbors of mine, who have been waiting for the opportunity to visit their relatives, are currently facing unnecessary and harrowing barriers,' she said.

The lawmaker took up this issue resulting of the news aired on Tuesday, when pointing out on her Twitter account that this problem has caused uncertainty among Cuban families on both sides.

An Associated Press report published Wednesday by The Washington Post said that most U.S. diplomats in Havana did not want to leave the Caribbean nation, and that many of the State Department staff also opposed such a decision. The departure of the U.S. diplomats from Cuba was also rejected by U.S. Foreign Service Association Chairwoman Barbara Stephenson, who stated that she did not know about the cause of health problems reported in Cuba, but considered that this matter did not justify a large-scale withdrawal of diplomats from the U.S. Embassy in Havana.

Amid the recent incidents, everyone was glancing at Republican Senator Marco Rubio, a staunch opponent of the normalization of bilateral relations who has also demanded that the Trump administration close the U.S. Embassy in Havana.

Vicki Huddleston, former head of the U.S. Interest Section in Havana, tweeted that good relations between both countries are in the U.S. national interest, whereas the bad relations respond to Rubio's obsession with Cuba.