Cuba condemns US cuts to embassy staff over ‘health attacks’


HAVANA (AP) — A senior Cuban official is condemning Washington’s decision to make the withdrawal of 60 percent of the U.S. Embassy staff permanent in response to mysterious ailments affecting American diplomats.

Carlos Fernandez de Cossio says the decision is motivated by politics and has nothing to do with the safety of diplomats.

The new director of U.S. issues at the ministry told reporters Monday that the cuts will hurt consular services and make travel more difficult for ordinary citizens. He says it may also erode long-standing cooperation on migration.

The State Department made the cuts permanent last week. It initially scaled back staff in October in response to hearing loss and other ailments affecting at least 24 U.S. citizens. U.S. investigators have not determined a cause and Cuba denies any wrongdoing.

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