Tuesday, October 03, 2017

The Affair of the Sonic Weapons Attack: "Declaration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba"/"Declaración del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores"


The Affair of the Sonic Weapons Attack  continues to spiral out of control as both the United States of America and the Republic of Cuba continue to pull old behaviors from their tool kits.  It likely gives both sides some comfort to go back to well rehearsed and well worn act and reaction patterns.  For their principal audiences--those who finance them, their media groupies, and the influential stakeholders whose outsize influence tends to drive behavior among government functionaries, this is playing well.  We are back into familiar territory and the old relationships and the old power arrangements (and their benefits) appear to be preserved. For the rest of us, however, watching 70 year of the same performance is something of a disappointment. 

What follows is the response of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba to the decisions by the United States government to reduce the size of its diplomatic mission in Cuba and the consequent decision to expel a substantial number of Cuban diplomats in the United States.  It may also be accessed her e(English): Declaration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba and (Spanish) Declaración del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores. The Declarations presents the current position of the Cuban state in the Affair of the Sonic Weapons Attacks and suggests that both sides may be digging in their heels and are preparing for a long period of cooling relations.  The most interesting part of the Declaration that intimates that there has been a breakdown in cooperation almost from the first; that both states appear to be going their own way and paralleling efforts to suit their own tastes and needs (e.g., here and, here). That is a great pity.  But in current circumstances it is the easy way for risk averse officials on both sides to protect themselves within their own administrative environments.

In the end, both the Cuban Stalinist nomenklatura and the Cuban American hard right will rejoice. as these moves preserves their respective positions, power and influence within their respective states. Perhaps after all it will require the históricos on both sides of the Florida straits to finish their life journeys before a new generation (then much older) will be able to "cross the Jordan" into the promised land (Numbers 14:30-32).

Subject: Declaration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba

Declaration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba


On September 29, 2017, the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced the decision to significantly downscale the diplomatic staff of the US embassy in Havana and withdraw all their relatives, claiming that there had been “attacks” perpetrated against US Government officials in Cuba which have harmed their health.

Once again, on October 3, the US Government, in an unwarranted act, decided that 15 officials of the Cuban Embassy in Washington should depart from the United States, claiming that the US had reduced their diplomatic staffing levels in Havana and that the Cuban Government had failed to take all appropriate steps to prevent “attacks” against them.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly protests and condemns this unfounded and unacceptable decision as well as the pretext used to justify it, for it has been asserted that the Cuban Government did not take the appropriate measures to prevent the occurrence of the alleged incidents.

In the meeting that, at the proposal of the Cuban side, was held with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, warned him against the adoption of hasty decisions that were not supported by evidence; urged him not to politicize a matter of this nature and once again required the effective cooperation from the US authorities to clarify facts and conclude the investigation.

It is the second time, after May 23, 2017, that the State Department orders two Cuban diplomats in Washington to abandon the country; that the US Government reacts in a hasty, inappropriate and unthinking way, without having evidence of the occurrence of the adduced facts, for which Cuba has no responsibility whatsoever and before the conclusion of the investigation that is still in progress.

Just as was expressed by the Cuban Foreign Minister to Secretary of State Tillerson on September 26, 2017, Cuba, whose diplomatic staff members have been victims in the past of attempts perpetrated against their lives, who have been murdered, disappeared, kidnapped or attacked during the performance of their duty, has seriously and strictly observed its obligations under the Geneva Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 referring to the protection and integrity of diplomatic agents accredited in the country, in which it has an impeccable record.

As was informed by the Ministry on August 9 last, since February 17, 2017, when the US embassy and State Department notified the alleged occurrence of incidents against some officials of that diplomatic mission and their relatives as from November 2016, arguing that these had caused them injuries and other disorders, the Cuban authorities have acted with utmost seriousness, professionalism and immediacy to clarify this situation and opened an exhaustive and priority investigation following instructions from the top level of the Government. The measures adopted to protect the US diplomatic staff, their relatives and residences were reinforced; new expeditious communication channels were established between the US embassy and the Diplomatic Security Department and a committee of experts was created to make a comprehensive analysis of facts, which was made up by law enforcement officials, physicians and scientists.

In the face of the belated, fragmented and insufficient information supplied by the US, the Cuban authorities requested further information and clarifications from the US embassy in order to carry out a serious and profound investigation.

The US embassy only delivered some data of interest on the alleged incidents after February 21, when President Raúl Castro Ruz personally reiterated to the Chargé d’Affairs of the US diplomatic mission how important it was for the competent authorities from both countries to cooperate and exchange more information. Nevertheless, the data supplied later on continued to be lacking in the descriptions or details that would facilitate the characterization of facts or the identification of potential perpetrators, in case there were any.

In the weeks that followed, in view of new reports on the alleged incidents and the scarce information that had been delivered, the Cuban authorities reiterated the need to establish an effective cooperation and asked the US authorities for more information and insisted that the occurrence of any new incident should be notified in real time, which would provide for a timely action.

Besides all of the above and in the interest of contributing to the investigation and legal process established by virtue of the Cuban Criminal Procedural Law, the US received from Cuba some requests for information as part of the inquiry procedure.

The information delivered by the US authorities led the committee of Cuban experts conclude that this was insufficient and that the main obstacle to clarify the incidents had been the impossibility to have direct access to the injured people and the physicians who examined them; the belated delivery of evidence and their deficient value; the absence of reliable first-hand and verifiable information and the inability to exchange with US experts who are knowledgeable about this kind of events and the technology that could have been used, despite having repeatedly stating this as a requirement to be able to move forward in the investigation.

Only after repeated requests were conveyed to the US Government, some representatives of specialized agencies of that country finally traveled to Havana on June last, met with their Cuban counterparts and expressed their intention to cooperate in a more substantive way in the investigation of the alleged incidents. They again visited Cuba in August and September, and for the first time in more than 50 years they were allowed to work on the ground, for which they were granted all facilities, including the possibility of importing equipment, as a gesture of good will that evidenced the great interest of the Cuban government in concluding the investigation.

The Cuban authorities highly assessed the three visits made by the US specialized agencies ,which have recognized the high professional level of the investigation started by Cuba and its high technical and scientific component, and which, as a preliminary result, concluded that, so far, according to the information available and the data supplied by the United States, there were no evidence of the occurrence of the alleged incidents or the causes and the origin of the health disorders reported by the US diplomats and their relatives. Neither has it been possible to identify potential perpetrators or persons with motivations, intentions or means to perpetrate this type of actions; nor was it possible to establish the presence of suspicious persons or means at the locations where such facts have been reported or in their vicinity. The Cuban authorities are not familiar with the equipment or the technology that could be used for that purpose; nor do they have information indicating their presence in the country.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs categorically rejects any responsibility of the Cuban Government in the alleged incidents and reiterates once again that Cuba has never perpetrated, nor will it ever perpetrate attacks of any sort against diplomatic officials or their relatives, without any exception. Neither has it ever allowed nor will it ever allow its territory to be used by third parties with that purpose.

The Ministry emphasizes that the US Government announced decision to reduce Cuba’s diplomatic staff in Washington without the conclusive results from the investigation and without evidence of the incidents that would be affecting their officials in Cuba has an eminently political character.

The Ministry urges the competent authorities of the US Government not to continue politicizing this matter, which can provoke an undesirable escalation and would rarify and reverse even more bilateral relations, which were already affected by the announcement of a new policy made in June last by President Donald Trump.

The Ministry reiterates Cuba’s disposition to continue fostering a serious and objective cooperation between the authorities of both countries with the purpose of clarifying these facts and conclude the investigation, for which it will be essential to count on the most effective cooperation of the US competent agencies.

Havana, October 3, 2017.


Declaración del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores


El 29 de septiembre de 2017, el Secretario de Estado de los Estados Unidos, Rex Tillerson, anunció la decisión de reducir significativamente el personal diplomático de su Embajada en La Habana y retirar a todos los familiares, con el argumento de que se han producido “ataques” contra funcionarios del gobierno estadounidense en Cuba, que les han causado afectaciones a su salud.

El 3 de octubre de 2017, una vez más, el gobierno estadounidense, en una acción injustificada, decidió que 15 funcionarios de la Embajada de Cuba en Washington abandonen el territorio de los Estados Unidos, sobre la base de que han reducido su personal diplomático en La Habana y que el gobierno cubano no habría dado los pasos necesarios para prevenir “ataques” contra estos.

El Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores protesta enérgicamente y denuncia esta decisión infundada e inaceptable, así como el pretexto utilizado para justificarla, al afirmarse que el gobierno de Cuba no adoptó todas las medidas adecuadas para prevenir los alegados incidentes.

En la reunión sostenida, a propuesta de la parte cubana, con el secretario de Estado, Rex Tillerson, el ministro de Relaciones Exteriores, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, le advirtió de no tomar decisiones apresuradas sin sustento en evidencias, lo instó a no politizar un asunto de esta naturaleza y le reiteró la solicitud de cooperación efectiva de las autoridades estadounidenses para esclarecer los hechos y concluir la investigación.

Es la segunda ocasión, después que el 23 de mayo de 2017 el Departamento de Estado ordenara que dos diplomáticos cubanos en Washington abandonaran el país, en que el Gobierno de los Estados Unidos responde de manera precipitada, inapropiada e irreflexiva, sin evidencias sobre la ocurrencia de los hechos invocados, en los que Cuba no tiene responsabilidad alguna, y sin que haya concluido la investigación que está en curso.

Tal como fuera trasladado por el Canciller cubano al secretario de Estado Tillerson, el 26 de septiembre de 2017, Cuba, que ha sido víctima en el pasado de atentados contra miembros de su personal diplomático, asesinados, desaparecidos, secuestrados o agredidos en el ejercicio de sus funciones, cumple con toda seriedad y rigor sus obligaciones con la Convención de Viena sobre Relaciones Diplomáticas de 1961, en lo que se refiere a la protección de la integridad de los agentes diplomáticos acreditados en el país, en lo cual puede mostrar un historial impecable.

Como informó el Ministerio el pasado 9 de agosto, desde que la Embajada y el Departamento de Estado de los Estados Unidos informaran, el 17 de febrero de 2017, la presunta ocurrencia de incidentes contra algunos funcionarios de esa sede diplomática y sus familiares desde noviembre de 2016, alegando que les causaron daños y otras afecciones, las autoridades cubanas han actuado con suma seriedad, profesionalismo e inmediatez para esclarecer esta situación e iniciaron una investigación exhaustiva y prioritaria por indicación del más alto nivel del Gobierno. Se reforzaron las medidas de protección de los diplomáticos estadounidenses, sus familiares y sus residencias, se habilitaron nuevos canales de comunicación expedita de la Embajada con el Departamento de Seguridad Diplomática y se creó un comité de expertos para el análisis integral de los hechos, integrado por autoridades policiales, médicos y científicos.

Ante la tardía, fraccionada e insuficiente información suministrada por los estadounidenses, las autoridades cubanas solicitaron a la Embajada de los Estados Unidos precisiones e informaciones adicionales que permitieran realizar una investigación seria y profunda.

La Embajada de los Estados Unidos solo entregó algunos datos de interés sobre los supuestos incidentes, después de que el 21 de febrero, el Presidente Raúl Castro Ruz reiterara personalmente al Encargado de Negocios a.i. de esa Misión diplomática la importancia de compartir más información y cooperar entre las autoridades competentes de ambos países. No obstante, los datos suministrados con posterioridad continuaron careciendo de descripciones o detalles que facilitaran la caracterización de los hechos o la identificación de posibles autores, en caso de haberlos.

En las semanas posteriores, ante nuevos reportes sobre alegados incidentes y la escasa información aportada, las autoridades cubanas reiteraron la necesidad de una cooperación efectiva, ampliaron las solicitudes informativas a las autoridades estadounidenses e insistieron en ser notificadas en tiempo real sobre la ocurrencia de nuevos incidentes para poder actuar de forma oportuna.

En adición a lo anterior, en aras de contribuir al proceso investigativo y legal que se radicó en virtud de la Ley de Procedimiento Penal cubana, se trasladaron a las autoridades de los Estados Unidos requerimientos informativos como parte del expediente de investigación.

Las informaciones entregadas por la parte estadounidense han llevado al comité de expertos cubanos a concluir que estas son insuficientes y que el principal obstáculo para el esclarecimiento de los incidentes ha sido la falta de acceso directo a los afectados y a los médicos que los examinaron, la entrega tardía de evidencias y su carencia de valor, la ausencia de una información primaria fiable y contrastable, y la imposibilidad de realizar intercambios con expertos de los Estados Unidos con conocimiento sobre hechos de esta naturaleza y de la tecnología que pueda haberse empleado, a pesar de haberlo planteado reiteradamente como una necesidad para avanzar en la investigación.

Solo tras repetidas solicitudes al Gobierno de los Estados Unidos, representantes de agencias especializadas de ese país viajaron finalmente a La Habana el pasado mes de junio, se reunieron con sus contrapartes cubanas y expresaron la intención de cooperar de forma más sustantiva en la investigación de los supuestos incidentes. Volvieron a visitar Cuba en agosto y septiembre, permitiéndoseles trabajar en el terreno por primera vez en más de 50 años, para lo cual se les dieron todas las facilidades, incluyendo la posibilidad de importar equipamiento, como muestra de buena voluntad y del gran interés del gobierno cubano en concluir la investigación.

Las autoridades cubanas valoran positivamente las tres visitas realizadas por las agencias especializadas estadounidenses, las cuales han reconocido el alto nivel profesional de la investigación emprendida por Cuba, con un elevado componente técnico y científico, y que como resultado preliminar ha arrojado que hasta el momento, de acuerdo con la información disponible y los datos proporcionados por los Estados Unidos, no existen evidencias de la ocurrencia de los alegados incidentes, ni de las causas y el origen de las afecciones de salud notificadas por los diplomáticos estadounidenses y sus familiares. Tampoco se han identificado posibles autores ni personas con motivaciones, intenciones o medios para ejecutar este tipo de acciones, ni se ha establecido la presencia de personas o medios sospechosos en los lugares donde se han reportado los hechos ni en sus alrededores. Las autoridades cubanas no están familiarizadas con equipos ni tecnologías que puedan ser utilizadas para este propósito, ni cuentan con información que indique su presencia en el país.

Al rechazar categóricamente cualquier responsabilidad del gobierno cubano en los alegados hechos, el Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores reafirma una vez más que Cuba jamás ha perpetrado ni perpetrará ataques de ninguna naturaleza contra funcionarios diplomáticos ni sus familiares, sin excepción. Tampoco ha permitido ni permitirá que su territorio sea utilizado por terceros con este propósito.

El Ministerio enfatiza que la medida anunciada por el Gobierno de los Estados Unidos, de reducir el personal diplomático cubano en Washington sin que haya resultados investigativos concluyentes ni pruebas de los incidentes que estarían afectando a sus funcionarios en Cuba, tiene un carácter eminentemente político.

El Ministerio insta a las autoridades competentes del Gobierno de los Estados Unidos a no continuar politizando este asunto, lo cual puede provocar una escalada indeseada, así como enrarecer y hacer retroceder más las relaciones bilaterales, ya afectadas por el anuncio de una nueva política realizado en junio pasado por el presidente Donald Trump.

El Ministerio reitera la disposición de Cuba a continuar propiciando una cooperación seria y objetiva entre las autoridades de ambos países, con el objetivo de lograr el esclarecimiento de estos hechos y concluir la investigación, para lo cual será esencial la colaboración más eficiente de las agencias competentes de los Estados Unidos.

La Habana, 3 de octubre de 2017


Miguel Alvin Vélez Mederos
First Secretary
Embassy of the Republic of Cuba
2630, 16th St., NW.
Washington D.C., 20009
Office: 202 797 8518 ext. 151<tel:202%20797%208518%20ext.%20111>
Mobile: 202 492<tel:202%20486%204814> 1163

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