Cuban Foreign Minister Calls Chill in US-Cuba Ties ‘Political Manipulation’

Cuba’s foreign minister told a group of Cubans living in the United States Saturday that U.S. allegations of mysterious sonic attacks on U.S. diplomats in Cuba are “political manipulation” meant to undermine bilateral relations.

Bruno Rodriguez told his audience in Washington that “the so-called sonic attacks … are totally false.”

The U.S. has not officially blamed Cuba for the mysterious high-pitched sounds that left U.S. diplomats with hearing loss, headaches, dizziness and nausea. But last week, President Donald Trump said he believes Havana is responsible.

The White House has said it believes the Cuban government could put a stop to the noises, which caused enough tension that the United States withdrew more than half its diplomatic staff from the island and expelled 15 Cuban diplomats from Washington.

The U.S. government has also begun restricting issuance of travel visas to Cuba and warning applicants about the sonic attacks.

Cuban officials have responded by accusing President Trump of slander.

Rodriguez said the withdrawal of U.S. diplomatic staff is causing hardships for Cubans who need to acquire U.S. visas. He expressed frustration over the development, saying, “It’s unacceptable and immoral, from the point of view of the Cuban government, for people to be harmed by a difference between governments.”

Rodriguez also said Cuban citizens in the United States will no longer have to go through a special review of their Cuban passports to travel from the U.S. to Cuba. 

“The U.S. government closes, and Cuba opens,” he said.

Rodriguez also said Cuba is making it easier for the children of Cubans in the United States to get Cuban citizenship, and said Havana will allow some Cubans who left the country illegally to return.

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