Senior State Department officials said on Wednesday that employees of the U.S. embassy in Cuba were subjected to an “acoustic attack” that left two people with serious health problems.
Officials said the employees were not affected at the same place or time, but have been suffering a variety of physical symptoms since late 2016.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said they have not determined exactly what happened, but that the departments believes the assailants used sonic devices to attack embassy members at different times and places. The State Department launched an investigation and expelled two Cuban diplomats from the United States in May.
“We don’t have any definitive answers about the source or the cause of what we consider to be incidents,” Nauert said. “We can tell you that on May 23rd, the State Department took further action. We asked two officials who were accredited at the Embassy of Cuba in the United States to depart the United States. Those two individuals have departed the United States. ”
Nauret said that the members who were affected by the alleged “attack” were sent back to the U.S. to receive medical treatment.
“The Cuban Government has a responsibility and an obligation under the Geneva Convention to protect our diplomats, so that is part of the reason why this is such a major concern of ours, why we take this so seriously, and in addition to the protection and security of Americans,” she said.
The Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs has denied the State Department’s claims in a statement released on Wednesday and said that the decision to expel Cuban diplomats was “unjustified and unfounded.”
“The Ministry categorically emphasizes that Cuba has never, nor would it ever, allow that the Cuban territory be used for any action against accredited diplomatic agents or their families, without exception. Moreover, it reiterates its willingness to cooperate in the clarification of this situation,” the statement said.