Cuba Says U.S. manipulates Diplomatic Health Incidents

Cuba denounced Donald Trump’s government on Thursday for continuing to refer to health incidents among its diplomats in Havana as “attacks” without presenting any evidence, and said it was part of a broader campaign to damage bilateral relations, according to a Reuters news agency cable.

Both Canada and the United States reduced their embassy staff in Havana after diplomats began complaining of mysterious episodes of dizziness, headaches and nausea two years ago.

“The issue has been highly manipulated politically by the U.S. government, with unfounded accusations, which has been a pretext for taking action against bilateral relations,” Carlos Fern├índez de Cossio, director of U.S. affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a press conference in Havana.

U.S.-Cuba relations have plummeted since Trump became president once again, reinforcing the trade and travel embargo he has been in Cuba for decades.

“This manipulation is also serving those who want to reinforce the idea that Cuba is a threat and those who opportunistically seek to label Cuba as a country that sponsors terrorism,” Fernandez de Cossio said, according to Reuters.

While Cuba had no doubt that some diplomats had fallen ill, so far there was nothing to suggest that this was not due to a pre-existing condition, natural causes or even psychological suggestions, he said.

In contrast, cooperation with Canada had been much better, the Cuban official said. “Canada made no accusations against Cuba regarding the attacks, Canadian politicians have not come out threatening us or making irresponsible statements.”

However, in January the Cuban government criticized Canada’s decision to reduce the number of diplomatic personnel in Cuba by half after someone else became ill, bringing the total number of Canadians with unexplained symptoms to 14.

At the time, he said the measure would not help solve the mystery and would damage bilateral relations. “We hope that there will be no greater damage to our relations (with Canada), nor do we see any reason why there should be,” Fernandez de Cossio said.

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