Re the Sept. 19 editorial, “Cuba puts renewed U.S. ties at risk,” on the sonic assault on American diplomats and their mysterious illnesses in Havana is right that the regime needs to determine who is responsible for injuries suffered by the diplomats.
A Sept. 17 AP story seems to blame Washington for responding to Raúl Castro’s failure to protect diplomats in Cuba, as required by international law. The AP says that “a decision to shutter the embassy, even temporarily would deal a demoralizing blow to the delicate détente that President Barack Obama and Cuban leader Raul Castro announced in late 2014.”
The AP is wrong. There is no delicate balance. The diplomats who have suffered “mild” brain trauma and permanent hearing loss are not Cuban but American. The balance was not disturbed earlier because Obama ignored Havana’s anti-American actions, just like the State Department failed to promptly speak out on the current crisis. CBS has reported that, “The State Department was fully aware of the extent of the attacks, long before it was forced to acknowledge them.”
During the negotiations with the Obama administration, Havana attempted to smuggle war planes and missiles to North Korea in violation of U.N. sanctions. Cuban spies stole an American missile that had been used at a NATO exercise. Russian spy ships that monitor American military traffic returned to Havana. There are still thousands of Cuban soldiers in Venezuela, and American terrorists live in Havana, where repression is on the rise.
Since Castro is incapable of assuring the diplomats’ safety, President Trump should bring them home for medical evaluation. They should not be returned until the regime says what happened, who is responsible, and measures are taken to prevent further injuries. The slow response by the State Department to events that began last November should be brought to the attention of the president.
Frank Calzon, executive director, Center for a Free Cuba, Washington, D.C.