The U.S. government has reduced to one year the time its diplomats can stay in Cuba, where the U.S. embassy currently has very few staff under the argument of alleged health incidents whose causes are unknown.
The website Politico, which released the information on the basis of access to a State Department news obtained August 10, said the time frame is unusually short and applies to countries devastated by war or very dangerous for other reasons.
Such a change in the duration of missions, which was usually 24 months, imposes periods of time similar to those followed by officials in Iraq, Afghanistan and Southern Sudan, despite the fact that many sectors in the United States recognize the island as a very safe place.
The measure, according to Politico, is related to the health incidents reported by U.S. diplomats in Havana, which were described as attacks by the Donald Trump administration even though it is not known what caused the symptoms.
This step joins other unilateral actions taken by the U.S. government since September 2017, such as substantially reducing the presence of officials in Havana, stopping the delivery of visas and expelling 17 Cuban diplomats from Washington.
Along with these measures, the State Department maintains its warning of trips to Cuba at level three, out of a maximum of four, all of which is seen by the Caribbean nation and U.S. sectors as an attempt to politicize the issue in order to reverse the process of bilateral rapprochement. As Politico warned, reducing the stay of U.S. officials in Havana to one year is also a new coup for companies and other groups that, "despite Trump's reluctance, still hope to see relations between the United States and Cuba improve".
In a statement sent to the media, the State Department reiterated that they still do not have definitive answers about the source or cause of the health incidents, which it has again labeled as attacks, despite the fact that an investigation is underway.
The news comes after 10 scientists from the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany sent four letters to the Journal of the American Medical Association this week to challenge a study that found that diplomats in Cuba suffered mysterious brain injuries.
According to experts, the authors of a report published in February in the same media did not include mass hysteria as one of the possible causes of the symptoms reported by officials.
The letters are the most recent scientific questioning of the University of Pennsylvania study, used to some extent to justify the decisions of the Trump administration. / PL