Frosty Relations with Tropical Cuba


Maddy Avni, News Editor

President Trump has expelled 15 Cuban diplomats from the United States on October 3 in response to a mysterious “illness” sweeping the Americans stationed at the Havana embassy. This move is set to strain the already somewhat forced relations between Cuba and the U.S., and may be a sign of our détente’s demise.


Twenty-two American diplomats have, at various times, reported symptoms of a strange illness while stationed in Havana, including hearing loss, dizziness, visual and balance problems, and cognitive issues, beginning last December. In the following January, the State Department began to suspect that the illnesses were related, and that they may be caused by a toxin or viral attack, or by the use of a sonic weapon. Strange noises were heard in some of the rooms at the embassy as well, possibly indicating the presence of a sonic device. In light of this, President Trump has taken steps to limit interaction with Cuba, including trimming the embassy staff to just 27 people.


The expulsion of the diplomats was allegedly meant to coerce the Cuban government into moving their American embassy to Washington. However, many suspect that there are other factors at play. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has stated that the Cuban government did not do enough to protect American diplomats, and that a clearer effort should be shown before diplomatic relations are restored, and he’s not alone in believing so. An anonymous State Department official voiced many of the same sentiments in a quote to a New York Times reporter. The Cuban government has taken the move as inherently political, and has denounced it as inappropriate and hasty.


This does not bode well for U.S.-Cuban relations. If this trend continues, the ever-narrowing bridge between us and the island nation may close forever. President Trump has been making efforts to crumble the détente for a long time, this being only the latest, and their effects are beginning to show. Although Rex Tillerson and other state officials have stated that diplomatic relations with Cuba are to be continued, can they be believed? It seems as though it won’t be long before our relationship is as frigid as it was during the Cold War.