Havana – After documents from the administration of former President Donald Trump were declassified the day before – which point to deficiencies in the handling of health incidents reported by US diplomats in Cuba – island officials and scientists hope that his successor Joe Biden will reverse the hostile measures against the Caribbean nation given that they would have been imposed based on what they described as falsehoods.
“Every day it is confirmed more that there was no attack against diplomatic personnel in Havana,” Johana Tablada, deputy director for the United States of the Foreign Ministry, said Thursday in an exclusive statement to The Associated Press.
Reports of employees of the United States Embassy affected by headaches, nausea, deafness and vomiting, among other symptoms between 2016 and 2017 were attributed by Trump officials to alleged sonic attacks or from unknown sources, and meant as of 2018 the application of a dramatic policy of measures against Cuba.RELATED
“The people of Cuba deserve to reverse measures that were taken on the basis of false pretenses,” said Tablada. “If there was no attack, the United States consulate in Havana should not be closed, Cuban families should not be prevented from assisting loved ones in Florida and vice versa, bilateral agreements should not be affected.”
A State Department report, declassified at the request of the US National Security Archive NGO, indicated that the closure of operations of the US headquarters in 2018 was based on false premises such as that there was an attack and was handled with secrecy.
The document indicated that the State Department did not know the reason for the incidents, when they really began or who made them, a completely different story from the one released by the Trump administration and according to which Havana attacked diplomats with an unknown weapon.
The declassified US report focused mainly on the poor reaction to the incidents by the official agency and other agencies of the American nation, the lack of coordination and a senior official leading the investigation and response.
The impact and publicity of the alleged attacks was the argument to cut 60% of the staff of the diplomatic headquarters on the island. While Cuban representatives were expelled to Washington, consular services were closed, travel alerts were issued, educational visits were canceled, and the bilateral dialogue, initiated by the administration of former President Barack Obama, was paralyzed.
Trump took such a radical turn to Obama’s policy that in his four years in office he imposed some 200 measures against the island, also seeking to suffocate it economically to achieve a change in his political model and ingratiate himself with the conservative exile sectors of Florida .
Cuba rejected the hypothesis of attacks or syndromes – although it did not deny that the symptoms of the diplomats -, offered collaboration and set up working groups with experts.
Similarly, a group of officials from the Canadian Embassy also reported discomfort, but Ottawa – which also reduced its staff on the island – collaborated in the investigations.
Mitchell Valdés, director of the Center for Neurosciences and coordinator of the Cuban group for studies of health incidents, was one of the most active in supporting joint work.
“All elements of the story are unraveling,” Valdes told the AP on Thursday, commenting on the revelations in the report declassified the day before.
In addition to the new documents and the ability of science to find causes when it is not politicized, Valdés was optimistic of a breakthrough during the Biden era.
“What gives me hope is that the United States government has expressed, the Biden administration, (its interest) to listen to science and it has already done so with COVID-19 and climate change; and I think that if you apply the same philosophy to the health incidents of the diplomats in Havana, we will advance in the clarification, ”Valdés said.
Biden – who was Obama’s vice president – promised during his campaign to review Trump’s sanctions policy against Cuba.