President Donald Trump on Monday blamed Cuba’s government for injuries suffered by nearly two dozen American diplomats and family members that prompted the State Department to evacuate more than half of its staff at the U.S. embassy in Havana.
“I think Cuba knew about it. I do believe Cuba is responsible, yes,” Trump said in response to a reporter’s question during a wide-ranging news conference in the Rose Garden. The president did not elaborate on whether he believes the regime of Raúl Castro perpetrated the attacks or did not move to prevent them.
Twenty-two Americans are said to have suffered mysterious injuries due to what U.S. officials believe were a series of sonic attacks. The Cuban government has denied having anything to do with the injuries.
The State Department has said it does not know who caused the attacks or why, but it ordered non-essential personnel and families out of Cuba late last month, leaving the embassy operating with a 60 percent reduction in its staff.
The agency also issued a travel warning to Americans not to visit the island, with which President Barack Obama restored diplomatic relations in early 2015 after five decades of isolation.
Last week, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said the Cuban government “could stop the attacks on our diplomats,” but he declined to say whether Trump is considering fully shuttering the embassy.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · David Nakamura