Cuba criticizes U.S. Senate hearing on alleged acoustic attacks
The Senate hearing on the investigation of "acoustic attacks" against U.S. diplomats residing in Cuba was criticized by a top Cuban diplomat on U.S. affairs as an accusation that Washington has been unable to prove.
Josefina Vidal, general director of the United States division of Cuba's Foreign Ministry, said at a press conference that the biggest victim of Tuesday's hearing was the truth behind the controversial issue.
"It's clear this is an unfounded accusation against Cuba. The State Department has no evidence that allows them to claim there have been attacks against its diplomats in Havana or that Cuba could be responsible or have knowledge of third-party actions against foreign envoys," she added.
U.S. State Department officials testified at the Senate hearing that it was "incomprehensible" the Cuban government would not have been aware of what happened or who was responsible.
Vidal rejected statements made by several State Department officials, saying they were "unacceptable."
"U.S. experts haven't been able to identify the cause of the incidents or its perpetrators. However, several U.S. State Department officials repeatedly used the word 'attacks'," she said.
The Senate hearing came just a day after the Federal Bureau of Investigations published a report saying it found no evidence of "acoustic attacks" against U.S. personnel in Cuba.
Vidal said that after months of investigations it has been demonstrated that alleged attacks never took place.
"The Cuban government has no responsibility for the health incidents reported by U.S. diplomats. We are aware of our responsibilities and fulfil them in an exemplary manner," Vidal noted.
Vidal said the issue has been "politicized" in order to justify Washington's roll back of thawing ties between the former Cold War enemies.
Over 20 U.S. diplomats and their family members in the Caribbean nation suffered symptoms such as hearing loss, tinnitus, vertigo, headaches and fatigue since the incidents were first reported in November 2016, leading to U.S. President Donald Trump's claim that Cuba was responsible.
The Trump administration, which has partly rolled back a detente with Cuba, sharply reduced the U.S. embassy staff in Havana in response to the incident last year.
Additionally, the U.S. State Department in October expelled 15 Cuban diplomats who worked at the embassy in Washington, as well as suspended all consular services, including issuing immigrant and non-immigrant visas in Havana, a measure highly unpopular among Cubans. ■