State Department Makes Cuba Staffing Cuts Permanent After Mysterious 'Health Attacks'

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Posted: Mar 02, 2018 2:30 PM
State Department Makes Cuba Staffing Cuts Permanent After Mysterious 'Health Attacks'

Following the mysterious “health attacks” on U.S. diplomats in Cuba, the Trump administration announced Friday that its decision to withdraw 60 percent of its diplomats from the country will be permanent. 

The State Department in October to pull non-essential personnel and their family members because the government was unable to protect them from the attacks, which affected at least 24 Americans with symptoms including hearing loss, nausea, loss of balance, brain swelling, severe headaches and even mild traumatic brain injury.

By law, State had to make a decision within six months about sending the diplomats back to Cuba or make the staffing cuts permanent. 

With the deadline being Sunday, State said only approximately two dozen diplomats would remain, which is “the minimum personnel necessary to perform core diplomatic and consular functions." 

Another change would be that diplomats at the embassy in Havana would no longer be able to have their family members live with them in Cuba. 

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gave the plan the green light, with the department noting concern for "the health, safety and well-being of U.S. government personnel and family members.”

"We still do not have definitive answers on the source or cause of the attacks, and an investigation into the attacks is ongoing," the statement continued.