US Orders 60% Of Havana Embassy Staff To Leave After Wave Of Mysterious 'Sonic Attacks'

Senior U.S. officials have told the Associated Press that the U.S. is pulling roughly 60% of its staff out of Cuba and warning American travelers not to visit due to "specific attacks" that have harmed U.S. diplomats - namely the unspecified sonic attacks that have caused injuries ranging from mild to severe in more than 20 diplomats who formerly worked at the embassy. The officials say the US is ordering all nonessential staff in the embassy in Havana to leave, along with all family members. Only "emergency personnel" will remain.

Meanwhile, the US is also halting issuing visas to Cubans over the attacks, though it has stopped short of implicating the Cuban government. 

The State Department warning on travel warning noted that many of the strange sonic attacks occurred in hotels, not the embassy itself, and that travelers could be at risk.

Following the news, Senator Marco Rubio criticized the State Department for not also kicking out some Cuban diplomats, given the egregious nature of the attacks.

 

The mysterious attacks started late last year, and at least one incident was recorded as recently as this month. The US has released little information on the nature of the attacks, or who the suspects might be. After half a century of estrangement, former President Barack Obama initiated a detente with Cuban President Raul Castro in 2015 that resulted in embassies reopening and travel between the two countries beginning again.