Cuba slams US Senate hearing on 'acoustic attacks'

Havana, Jan 10: Cuba has said a US Senate hearing on alleged "acoustic attacks" on American diplomats in the island nation was "unacceptable and only served to impose an accusation without evidence".

The Senate hearing was criticised by a top Cuban diplomat as an "accusation that Washington has been unable to prove", Xinhua news agency reported.

Over 20 US diplomats and their family members in Cuba suffered symptoms like hearing loss, tinnitus, vertigo, headaches and fatigue since the incidents were first reported in November 2016.

It lead to US President Donald Trump's claim that "Cuba was responsible".

Josefina Vidal, General Director of the US division of Cuba's Foreign Ministry, told the media that the "biggest victim" of Tuesday's hearing was the truth.

"It's clear this is an unfounded accusation against Cuba. The US State Department has no evidence that allows them to claim there have been attacks against its diplomats in Havana or that Cuba could be responsible or have knowledge of third-party actions against foreign envoys," she added.

US State Department officials testified at the Senate hearing that it was "incomprehensible" the Cuban government would not have been aware of what happened or who was responsible.

Vidal rejected the statements made by several State Department officials, saying they were "unacceptable".

"US experts haven't been able to identify the cause of the incidents or its perpetrators. However, several State Department officials repeatedly used the word 'attacks'," she said.

The Senate hearing came just a day after the Federal Bureau of Investigations published a report saying it found no evidence of "acoustic attacks" against US personnel in Cuba.

Vidal said that after months of investigations it has been demonstrated that alleged attacks never took place.

"The Cuban government has no responsibility for the health incidents reported by US diplomats. We are aware of our responsibilities and fulfil them in an exemplary manner," Vidal noted.

Vidal said the issue has been "politicised" in order to justify Washington's roll back of thawing ties between the former Cold War enemies.

The Trump administration, which has partly rolled back a detente with Cuba, sharply reduced the US embassy staff in Havana in response to the incident.

In October, the US expelled 15 Cuban diplomats who worked at the embassy in Washington and suspended all consular services, including issuing immigrant and non-immigrant visas in Havana, a measure highly unpopular among Cubans. 

Source: IANS