The Miami Herald’s Sept. 19 editorial, “Unless Cuba comes clean about the embassy attacks on U.S. diplomats, it will put renewed ties at risk” offers an overview of the strange case of American diplomats and their dependents harmed in Cuba.
But three points should be considered.
First, Raúl Castro lies, and there are two recent examples. Castro on March 21, 2016 in the joint press conference with President Obama said that there were no political prisoners in Cuba, and if any were identified they would be released immediately. A list of current Cuban political prisoners was provided, but they were not freed. In July 2013, Cuban officials were caught trying to smuggle warplanes, missiles, and technology related to ballistic missile programs hidden under 220,000 bags of sugar to North Korea and lied about it. This was in violation of U.N. sanctions.
Second, Obama did not achieve an end to the Cold War with Cuba. On Jan. 2, 2017 Cuban troops marched in a parade over which Castro presided chanting that they would repeatedly shoot the first African-American president in the head so many times that they would make a “hat of lead to the head.” Considering that American diplomats in Havana were already suffering brain trauma since November 2016 perhaps this should be looked at in a new light.
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Third, the statement by the Cuban embassy in Washington on Sept. 19 that “Cuba strictly observes its obligations to protect foreign diplomats on its soil” is not true. There is a decades-old pattern of hostility.
In 2006, the Miami Herald reported how a high-ranking member of the U.S. mission found his mouthwash replaced with urine. In another case, after one diplomat’s family privately discussed their daughter’s susceptibility to mosquito bites, “They returned home to find all of their windows open and the house full of mosquitoes.” American diplomats, like their Canadian counterparts, have also had pets poisoned while stationed in Cuba.
The types of injuries suffered by diplomats since November 2016 are new, but Cuba’s outlaw behavior toward them is not.
John Suarez, coordinator, Free Cuba Foundation, Miami