Waiting For Answers

Given the seriousness of these incidents and their repercussions, a detailed public statement from the Cuban authorities is urgent.

14ymedio bigger14ymedio Havana, 2 October 2017 — In recent days Cubans have struggled to take in the news of the reduction of US embassy staff in Havana and the indefinite suspension the processing of visas for Cubans desiring to travel to that country. The diplomatic thaw announced in December 2014 by both governments is currently experiencing a glaciation that could worsen in the coming days with new measures from Washington.

The decisions taken by the administration of President Donald Trump respond to the acoustic attacks that severely affected 21 American diplomats, incidents that Cubans are aware of only through scattered phrases spoken by some officials and speculation generated by information filtered through the press. Cubans are waiting for the Plaza of the Revolution to provide clear answers regarding the responsibility for what took place.

So far, Raúl Castro has not addressed the Cuban people directly to explain what occurred on the island targeting those Americans. In a country where excessive surveillance violates citizens’ freedom and large resources are allocated from the national budget to State Security, it is difficult to believe that something like these acoustic attacks took place without official knowledge.

Washington has reminded Havana that, under the Vienna Convention, Cuba is responsible for the security of diplomatic and consular personnel deployed in its territory.

Given the seriousness of these incidents and their repercussions, stranding thousands of families on both sides of the Florida Straits pending the resumption of the issuing of visas, the Cuban authorities are urged to provide a detailed and public statement.

In a democratic country the media would have turned all their efforts to the search of those responsible for these acts of extreme gravity. Here, in the face of the silence of the Government, it is unlikely that the official press will provide truthful and realistic answers about what happened and put an end to the mystery about the origin of these attacks.

It is striking that, so far, official newspapers have merely repeated the official statements of Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez while ridiculing the articles appearing in the foreign press about the saga of acoustic attacks. Despite the high number of engineers who have graduated on the island in the last half century, none has given an expert opinion on these sonic aggressions.

This time, the Cuban government will not be able to make the news go away in time as it did with the ship Chong Chon Gan, which was intercepted in Panama in 2013 while transporting a hidden arsenal from Cuba to North Korea, violating the restrictions imposed by United Nations.

Times are different now and Cubans expect answers.