U.S. and the hearing loss of its diplomats in Havana

Is it true that Cuba-United States relations remain?

That's what repeated statements from “anonymous sources” of the Department of State ascertain and, of course, it’s the firm political will the Cuban government has stated many times, not only to keep them, but to improve them as well beyond the natural discrepancies, stressing the matters of common interest based on mutual respect, sovereignty and self-determination of both parties. But, if one follows the facts of the last months and weeks, and partly the words, by the minute it would seem that the course Washington has given to this issue, if it does not seek to break the relations reestablished on December 17, 2014, at least it seeks to reduce them to a mere formalism, almost nothing.

Let’s approach the latest events of this hypoacoustic saga? On September 29, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced a substantial withdrawal of the staff of its embassy in Havana and said that all relatives would be repatriated. He justified the move by claiming that “attacks” have been perpetrated against officials of the US government in Cuba, which have affected their health. The Cuban government, besides being informed very late by the American side over those alleged “attacks” and health problems of its diplomatic staff in Cuba, has hardly received details of importance as to make a judgment on them.

Days later, on October 3, the US government, in another unjustified action, decided that 15 Cuban embassy officials had to leave the American territory, on the basis of “the reduction of its diplomatic staff in Havana and that Havana hadn’t made the necessary steps to prevent “attacks” against them”. The Cuban Foreign Ministry protested and termed this decision groundless and unacceptable, as well as the pretext that Cuba did not take appropriate measures to prevent those alleged incidents.

Regarding the steps made by Havana, we will talk later, but it’s nonsense to justify the expulsion of the Cuban personnel by the fact that Washington decided to withdraw part of its staff. Previously, on May 23, two Cuban diplomats were ordered to leave Washington "in a sudden, inappropriate and unthinking manner", as was described by the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which argued the absence of evidence on what Washington called incidents at that time and starting last Friday it calls attacks. The ongoing investigation agreed between the two countries had hardly progressed due to US reluctance to comply with its part and Cuba could not, therefore, be guilty of anything.

At the meeting held –at Cuba’s request– between Tillerson and Cuban FM Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, the latter warned him not to make quick decisions with unfounded evidences, urged him not to politicize the issue and reiterated the request of effective cooperation of the US authorities to clear up the events and conclude the investigation.

Now, it is necessary to point out that Cuba was not informed by the American side until February 2017

about the alleged incidents against the officials of its diplomatic mission in Havana and their relatives occurred since November 2016, which caused them hearing loss, dizziness and other symptoms. Nevertheless, the Cuban government stepped in immediately and at the suggestion of President Raúl Castro it began an investigation whose seriousness and professionalism have been acknowledged by the three groups of experts from US agencies that the Cuban government has allowed to visit the island. Cuba also created an expert committee composed of doctors, scientists and police chiefs.

As colleague Rosa Miriam Elizalde has asked, have the victims of the strange sonic attack in Cuba been examined by physicians from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center?, Will there exist any report on the case from the National Institute of Health? This is not a useless question, because they might have been examined by doctors chosen at University of Miami by senator and failed presidential candidate Marcos Rubio. As it’s well known, Rubio has found a mine to refloat himself political and financially in the war against Cuba and Venezuela. Everything can happen in that country today.


Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi TranslationStaff

Washington: the anti-Cuba conspiracy continues

The plot includes a letter that five former diplomats sent to President-elect Donald Trump urging him to reverse Obama’s policy toward Cuba.

El Nuevo Herald journalists, Nora Gámez Torres and Patricia Mazzei, wrote in Miami last Wednesday that their aim is to bring down measures geared at “softening the embargo”.

The text –typical of the extremist language– also asks Trump to hinder further collaboration “with Cuban security forces”.

Since then, the signatories show an interesting concern: that business interests hamper their ultra-right aims against Havana.

One can see this when they request Trump to in his first one hundred days of government, cancel as soon as possible the executive orders that lifted restrictions “to do business with the Castro regime”.

The letter was signed by Everett Ellis Briggs, former ambassador to Panama and Honduras, as well as special assistant to George W. Bush at the National Security Council (NSC).

Also signed were Elliot Abrams and Otto Reich, former Undersecretaries of State for Latin America, as well as Jose S. Sorzano, former ambassador to the United Nations.

Maybe one of the most noteworthy signatures was that of the pretty controversial former head of US diplomatic mission in Havana and current mayor of Coral Gables, James C. Cason.

“We want you to take a fresh look at politics toward Cuba”, stated the latter referring to Trump.

And then added “We have given too much, now the president-elect should step back and reconsider it”.

Although he immediately cleared up: “Not to break relations completely, but certainly to give nothing else”.

By the way, Cason’s statement reinforces criteria on apparent friction between rightwing hardliners and business sectors.

“We still have to wait and see whether principles win over profits”, he ascertained.

He went on to say: “So many enterprises are talking about what is profitable for them that is why we expect there could be an argument”.  

Herald journalists recalled that Trump has promised to put an end to the meltdown in bilateral relations if “Castro’s government does not offer concessions”.

On this regard, analysts on the Cuban issue have remarked that, Havana is not precisely which established an economic blockade on United States, nor has it invaded its territory or launched subversive programs against its authorities, set up radio and TV stations to defame its reality or built a military base on US soil.

What are those mistrusts from the far right?

According to experts on the subject, they are frightened by eventual recoil from Trump that will reverse the progress achieved with Cuban “exiles” who voted for him in Florida.

The letter by Washington’s former diplomats also criticised the performance of U.S. at UN, where its ambassador, Samantha Power, abstained for the first time at a voting that Cuba presents against US blockade.

“It’s scandalous”, commented Sorzano. “The administration abandoned its constitutional responsibilities to defend the law”, he added.

The signatories reach so far as to state that “there’s no need” to nominate an ambassador in Cuba.  
New pretext? Until, due to security reasons, hiring of its employees is not carried out as they determine.

At the same time, they suggested that a new manager be appointed “more in line with the views of the new Administration”.

The letter, revealed journalists Gamez and Mazzei, was coordinated by the so-called Center for a Free Cuba (CFC), which supports a hard-line and intransigent policy against Havana.

Hence other pending chapters before one can talk about a real improvement in Cuba-U.S. relations.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

The Cuban 5: True Heroes Tell Their Story on teleSUR

The five Cuban nationals had been monitoring Miami-based terrorist groups to stop further attacks on the socialist island.

The five Cubans unjustly jailed for years in the United States spoke with Telesur in October 2015 on the circumstances surrounding their arrest, and the series of events that led to their release.

The Cuban Five, as they became known, were sentenced to maximum prison terms on allegations of espionage. Gerardo Hernandez received a double life sentence and Antonio Guerrero and Ramon Labañino received life sentences. The remaining two, Fernando Gonzalez and Rene Gonzalez, received 19 and 15 years respectively.

Since December 2014 all have been free.

In their teleSUR interview they sit in a semicircle, their eyes emit a contentment, belying the treatment of incarceration that followed their arrest on charges of espionage and terrorism, back in 1998.

They express great love and respect for deceased Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and thank all their supporters around the world for their unwavering solidarity during their many years of imprisonment.

  • Published in Cuba

Jimmy Carter call US-Cuba diplomacy 'courageous'

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Jimmy Carter says he is "proud and grateful" for the president's efforts to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba. Carter calls the shift in policy "courageous."

  • Published in World
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