State Department orders most US Embassy staff to leave Cuba in response to unexplained health problems – Los Angeles Times

The State Department said Friday it had ordered more than half the U.S. Embassy staff and all diplomatic family members to leave Cuba because of what it called “specific attacks,” possibly by an acoustic device, that have caused myriad health problems to 21 U.S. diplomats.

Only those who carry out the main U.S. diplomatic and consular duties, including providing emergency assistance to American travelers in Cuba, will stay at the embassy in Havana, officials said.

The State Department issued an advisory for Americans not to visit Cuba, although no tourists or other travelers have been affected by the still-unexplained attacks. The embassy, an iconic building on Havana’s waterfront, also will suspend processing U.S. visa applications.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he had decided to trim staff and warn Americans in response to what he called “attacks of an unknown nature.” He emphasized that the moves were intended to ensure the health and safety of embassy personnel, not to punish Cuba.

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