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U.S. Yanks Staff in Cuba After Attacks on American Diplomats

Move reverses major part of Obama's diplomatic detente with Havana

U.S. Embassy in Havana
U.S. Embassy in Havana / Getty Images
• September 29, 2017 10:18 am

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The State Department is yanking a significant portion of its personnel out of Cuba and warning U.S. travelers that the country is not safe to visit because of mysterious attacks on American diplomats that have permanently damaged their health, according to the Associated Press.

The move effectively reverses many aspects of President Obama’s policy of normalizing relations with Cuba.

The State Department is drawing down to a skeleton, essential-staff only position, according to the AP, with only "emergency personnel" remaining.

The United States is also putting the brakes on all visa processing to Cuba and issuing an urgent travel warning to American citizens that they should not visit the island nation because their safety is at risk.

Washington’s foreign policy community was bracing for the move. Two sources familiar with the State Department’s deliberations told the Washington Free Beacon over the last two days that State was putting the final touches on a new sanctions package that would go beyond reducing staffs at both embassies and that an announcement could come as early as Friday.

One source said the State Department had to overcome strong "bureaucratic" resistance among supporters of Obama’s rapprochement to take the dramatic step of drawing reducing staff at the U.S. embassy in Havana to emergency personnel only.

Published under: Cuba