January 9, 2018 – FRN –
US Senator Marco Rubio suggested that Russia “is behind the alleged “acoustic attacks” on American diplomats in Cuba, but the State Department spokesman declined to confirm this.
“It’s logical to assume that the government of Russia is behind this,” Rubio, a Republican from Florida, said at a hearing in the Senate International Committee.
Rubio did not say on what grounds he suspects Moscow of influencing American diplomats.
Rubio asked Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Todd Brown if he had ever encountered such a “Russian activity” anywhere in the world.
Brown replied that he did not know of any such cases. “No, senator, I do not know about anything like that,” said Brown.
Earlier, the US State Department stated that more than two dozen employees of the US embassy in the capital of Cuba were subjected to an “acoustic attack” using special devices. At the end of September, the State Department issued a warning in which such symptoms as hearing loss, headache, weakness, and bad sleep were listed.
Havana states that there is no evidence of such impacts on US diplomats in Cuba. Also, the Cuban government denies any involvement in the incidents.
The United States and Cuba announced in late 2014 that they had begun work on the gradual normalization of relations. In July 2015, the countries restored diplomatic relations. Subsequently, the parties signed a number of bilateral agreements, although the trade embargo against Cuba, introduced by the US Congress, was never abolished.
However, in June 2017, US President Donald Trump announced the cancellation of the “erroneous” policy of his predecessor in normalizing relations with Havana. The White House noted that the US retains the embargo imposed on Cuba, and opposes the appeals of the UN and other international organizations to abolish it.