Alleged attacks on US diplomats are 'political manipulation': Cuba

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Oct 29 2017 10:09 AM

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez speaks at 4th conference with Cuban residents in the United States at Howard University Hospital in Washington, US Saturday. Yuri Gripas, Reuters

WASHINGTON - Allegations of mysterious attacks that have sickened US diplomats in Cuba are a "political manipulation" aimed at undermining US-Cuban relations, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said Saturday.

Rodriguez said it was "unacceptable and immoral" that "any political differences" between the two countries would translate into measures affecting nationals from either country.

The United States "decided to adopt decisions of a political nature that hurt the Cuban people," said Rodriguez, who spoke in Washington at a meeting of Cubans living in the United States.

"The so-called sonic attacks ... are totally false," said Rodriguez, slamming the allegations as "political manipulation aimed at damaging bilateral relations."

Washington has not formally blamed Havana for the alleged attacks, but US President Donald Trump said in mid-October that he holds Cuba responsible -- and the White House has said it believes Cuba could bring the attacks to a halt.

US officials have said the attacks -- which affected at least 24 diplomats at diplomatic residences and hotels in Cuba from November 2016 to August 2017 -- may have been carried out with some kind of covert acoustic device.

Rodriguez also dismissed as false "any type of attack that is invoked," or "any incident" of that kind.

However given the allegations "there has been a serious deterioration in the relationship between both governments and both countries," he said.

Cuba insists it has shown good will by letting FBI investigators visit the island three times this year.

Ignoring these arguments, in late September Washington withdrew more than half of its diplomatic staff in Cuba and expelled 15 Cuban diplomats from Washington.

For a month now US officials have stopped issuing visas for Cubans to travel to the United States, a move Cuba calls unjustified.