Washington expels two Cuban diplomats at the UN on charges of undermining national security

Members of Cuba's mission to the United Nations will also have to stay in Manhattan, the spokeswoman for the US State Department warned.

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The Trump administration has turned its back on Barack Obama's policy of rapprochement with Cuba.
The Trump administration has turned its back on Barack Obama's policy of rapprochement with Cuba. Carlo Allegri / REUTERS

As the UN General Assembly opens, the United States has expelled two Cuban diplomats serving at the UN. "We asked to leave the United States to two members of Cuba's mission to the United Nations who were engaged in activities that undermine US national security", said, Thursday, September 19, on Twitter US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus. "Members of Cuba's mission to the United Nations will now also have to stay in Manhattan", the part of New York where is the headquarters of the world organization, she warned.

The Cuban government has denounced this American decision. "I categorically reject the unjustified expulsion of two officials of the Permanent Mission of Cuba to the United Nations and the tightening of travel restrictions for diplomats and their families", tweeted Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez. "It is a common slander to accuse them of committing acts incompatible with their diplomatic status"added the minister.

The mission of Cuba to the UN, has sixteen officials, and the expulsion of two of them occurs just weeks from the 74th General Assembly of the United Nations, very important for Cuba, which presents every year a motion denouncing the American embargo in force since 1962.

For its part, the UN said it took note of the US announcement. "We will closely monitor this case and we will approach, appropriately, the governments concerned"said Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Persistent tension with Cuba

The Trump administration has turned its back on Barack Obama's policy of rapprochement with Cuba. By 2017, he had expelled fifteen Cuban diplomats in retaliation for the mysterious "attacks", sometimes described as "acoustic", which provoked various symptoms among several employees of the American Embassy in Havana.

The tone has risen a notch since Washington has been trying by all means, since the beginning of the year, to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, an ally of Havana.

Read also Trump revives cold war climate with Cuba

As the United Nations headquarters are in New York, the United States is, in principle, obliged to grant visas to States upon request to allow their officials to attend meetings or even to represent their representatives. country permanently.

But the US authorities sometimes use their leeway in this area as a diplomatic sanction for certain plans. The head of the Iranian diplomacy, Mohammad Javad Zarif, thus received in July only an entry visa with strict limits on his ability to move, while he was to attend a meeting of the UN on sustainable development. He had been allowed to move only in a restricted area around the headquarters of the international organization in East Manhattan.

Read also Havana "strongly rejects" Washington measures against foreign companies


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