Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson said in a press release that Cuba had failed to take the proper measures to protect the Americans according to its duties under the Vienna Convention, as reported by The New York Times.
The recently re-opened US embassy in Cuba will have its staffing reduced to emergency personnel only, and visa operations have been suspended indefinitely as a result of the action.
The statement explained that the move followed the mass withdrawal of American personnel from Cuba and warnings to all USA citizens to avoid the communist dictatorship, to which Americans can only travel under certain categories of visits.
The U.S. diplomats and their family members in Havana began reporting symptoms including hearing loss, dizziness, balance and visual problems, headaches and cognitive issues last December. "The decision on expulsions was taken due to Cuba's inability to protect our diplomats in Havana as well as to ensure equity on the impact on our respective operations".
A senior State Department official told reporters Tuesday the Cuban diplomats have seven days to leave the country.
In Havana, U.S. diplomats have been frantically selling off their belongings at garage sales and on social media.
But now both countries are poised to cut their embassies by more than half following uncanny, unexplained attacks threatening delicate ties between the Cold War rivals.
The attacks are said to be from sonic devices but the investigations have not found anything to confirm that.
Cuba, the United States and Canada have investigated the attacks, but the probes have not yielded any answers about how they were carried out or who was responsible.
So far, 22 Americans working at the embassy in Havana have been confirmed to suffer from physical debilitations.
Cuba's Embassy in Washington did not respond to multiple requests for comment. An official said that the new victim had experienced health problems in January but only now has a determination been made that they were connected to the other health incidents.
Following Trump's decisions on this issue, several voices described the U.S. State Department's measures as excessive and alerted how risky it would be for the normalization process of bilateral relations.
"We will need full assurances from the Cuban government that these attacks will not continue before we can even contemplate returning personnel".
"It is quite significant that the USA [government] has not made available for interviews any of the diplomats or undercover intelligence agents who were allegedly "attacked" and are neither deaf, nor have some other medical affliction", he pointed out.
Cuba's foreign minister says Washington's response to mysterious attacks on its diplomats has been "irresponsible" and "hasty". Most of the departing diplomats would leave Cuba by the end of the week, a United States official said. When the attacks first occurred, the USA and Cuban governments were hard at work on clinching new commercial and immigration agreements. AFSA's President Barbara Stephenson put out a statement opposing the USA decision to reduce its staff in Havana.
Share with Us - We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article, and smart, constructive criticism. The top USA diplomat has called them "health attacks".
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