Belfast Telegraph

Home News World

Donald Trump accuses Cuba over mystery attacks on US personnel in Havana

Donald Trump has said he believes Cuba "is responsible" for attacks on US government personnel in Havana.

The president did not say whether he believes Cuba perpetrated the attacks or just bears responsibility because they took place on Cuban soil.

His administration has previously said Cuba bears responsibility for keeping US workers safe in the country, but has not explicitly blamed Cuba for the attacks.

Last week, White House chief of staff John Kelly said the US believed Cuba could stop the attacks, but the US has emphasised that is because Cuba has tight control over security on the island, not because the US believes President Raul Castro's government is behind them.

The US says 22 government workers are "medically confirmed" to have been affected by invisible, unexplained attacks.

"I do believe Cuba is responsible, yes," Mr Trump said in a Rose Garden news conference.

He called the attacks "very unusual", but offered no new details about what type of weapon might have caused damage ranging from permanent hearing loss to mild traumatic brain injury or concussion.

The State Department has said that despite a lengthy investigation and FBI visits to the island, the US still cannot identify either a culprit or a device.

Mr Trump's ambiguous accusation of the Cubans is likely to increase tensions further between the two long-time former enemies.

The US and Cuba reopened diplomatic relations in 2015 after half a century of estrangement, but the attacks on Americans and steps taken by Washington in response have started to unravel those budding ties.

Since first disclosing the attacks in August, the Trump administration has steadfastly avoided accusing Cuba of perpetrating the attacks. Mr Castro's government has repeatedly denied involvement in and knowledge of the attacks.

The symptoms and circumstances reported have varied widely, making some hard to tie conclusively to the attacks. The incidents began last year and are considered "ongoing", with another attack reported as recently as late August.

AP

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph