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News > Cuba

State Dept Reveals Trump's Arbitrariness in Havana Sonic Event

  • Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez reaffirmed in December the falsity of the accusations of alleged acoustic attacks against U.S. diplomats in Havana.

    Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez reaffirmed in December the falsity of the accusations of alleged acoustic attacks against U.S. diplomats in Havana. | Photo: @Newsweek

Published 11 February 2021
Opinion

A newly declassified secret State Department report suggests that Donald Trump's decision to dismantle the Havana embassy in early 2018, in reaction to alleged "sonic attacks" against its diplomatic staff, was a political "response" plagued by mismanagement, lack of coordination, and procedural non-compliance.

As reported by El País, the declassified document - at the request of the U.S. National Security Archive - reveals that the former president decided to reduce 60% of the consular staff in Havana and deactivate the embassy's operations, without any proof that Cuba was behind the mysterious health problems that affected its officials.

"The mechanism of the cause of the injuries is currently unknown. We do not know the reason for these incidents, when they actually began, or who did it," states an internal State Department report drafted in 2018, after four months of work.

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The document also questions the actions of former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for not designating "a senior official with overall responsibility" for the investigation, and also criticizes "the excessive secrecy" of the CIA for not sharing information with the State Department, which "delayed" the coordination of an "adequate response."

At no time -refers El País- does the report deny that the American diplomats suffered health problems, but it establishes that it was not possible to know the causes of what happened. It assures that the US reaction was deficient, as it was "characterized by a lack of high-level leadership, ineffective communications, and systemic disorganization."

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez reaffirmed in December the falsehood of the accusations of alleged acoustic attacks against U.S. diplomats in Havana.

The maneuver served as a pretext for Donald Trump's administration to withdraw part of its diplomatic staff in the Cuban capital and damage relations between the two countries, resumed in 2015 after 54 years of rupture.

"After four years of accusations, the U.S. government has not been able to prove that anything happened in Cuba, much less that attacks took place."

"The decision to reduce personnel in Havana does not appear to have followed standard State Department procedures and was not preceded or followed by any formal analysis of the risks and benefits of the continued physical presence of U.S. government employees in Havana," El País notes of the newly declassified report.

Since the first notification of those alleged events in August 2017, Cuba developed an investigation into the case. It expressed to U.S. authorities the willingness to cooperate with the inquiries to determine the incident's possible causes.

"The so-called 'Havana Syndrome' will be taught for decades to medical students as a sample of what happens when politics mixes with science, how the search for truth or scientific evidence is hindered," noted last March Professor Robert Bartholomew, from the Department of Psychological Medicine at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

The alleged "acoustic attacks" served as a pretext for the Washington government to accuse Cuba as the aggressor, without any evidence of the facts, under what circumstances they occurred and even less with Cuban participation.

Also, the government of Donald Trump repeatedly prevented the specialized scientific community of both countries from discussing the issues on a scientific basis and prevented Cuba from accessing the examination of the patients or their histories so that the main U.S. scientists involved in the investigation acted without independence and subordinated to the indications of the State Department.

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