A strange case involving U.S. diplomats in Cuba is unfolding, but the State Department is being tight lipped about what happened.
During press briefings, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert, formerly of Fox and Friends, cited an unspecified incident resulting in the expulsion of two Cuban diplomats from the United States on May 23. When queried by reporters, she talked in circles and offered no explanations about what the “incident” was, saying only that U.S. diplomats had experienced a “variety of physical symptoms.”
On Thursday, it became clear that the incident involved five American diplomats who have left Cuba due to severe hearing loss. The cause has been determined to be a sonic device that operates out of audible range and was placed either inside or outside their residences. It is not clear if the device was used in a deliberate attack.
The Cuban embassy reopened in 2015 as part of President Barack Obama’s reestablishment of diplomatic relations with the island country. American diplomats, several of whom had just arrived in the country, began experiencing unexplained loss of hearing in the fall of 2016.
Canada is also now reporting that at least one of their diplomats has experienced hearing loss as well.
Cuban officials deny complicity in the attacks, and it is suspected that a third country, like Russia, may have placed the devices without the knowledge of the Cuban government.
The Cuban Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Wednesday calling the decision to expel their diplomats “unjustified and baseless.” The lengthy statement said “Cuba has never permitted, nor will permit, that Cuban territory be used for any action against accredited diplomatic officials or their families, with no exception.”
It went on to say that the Cuban government had been informed of the incidents on February 17 and then proceeded to launch an “exhaustive, high-priority, urgent investigation at the behest of the highest level of the Cuban government.”
It is interesting to note that Canada helped to broker talks between Cuba and the United States to restore diplomatic relations.
Nauert refused to answer questions regarding the Trump administration’s stance on Cuba, although the president has issued directives aimed at scaling back President Obama’s Cuba policy, labeling it as a “completely one-sided deal.”
Video of a portion of the press conference held at the State Department shows Ms. Nauert getting visibly upset with reporters, finally ending with a very annoyed “I’m done with Cuba.”