Canada cuts diplomatic staffing in Cuba

Canadian embassy

Canadian embassy

Unlike the US government, which calls the incidents "attacks" and has blamed the Cuban government for failing to protect its diplomats, the Canadian government said in the statement that it maintains "a positive and constructive relationship" with Cuba.

In addition to revised security measures already initiated by the Canadian government, we have made a decision to reduce by up to half the number of Canadian staff posted to Havana.

Ottawa confirmed Wednesday that the staff at the embassy in Havana was going from about 16 positions to up to eight.

Cuba is a favorite tourist destination for Canadians and the Canadian government said there is no evidence of any related ailments among Canadian travelers.

Unlike the US, Canada never cut off diplomatic relations with Cuba after its revolution in 1959.

Canada states that all diplomatic staff in Cuba have passed medical tests after unusual health symptoms in November 2018, when the last such case was confirmed.

However, Canada will still have an embassy in Havana headed by an ambassador and full consular services will be available to Canadians in Cuba.

It's the latest development in an global mystery that has seen Canadian and US diplomats in Havana hit with concussion-like symptoms, and which has left governments scrambling to find answers in what's being called "unprecedented and very hard incidents".

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The mysterious health troubles pursuing American and Canadian diplomats in Cuba, which at one point prompted both countries to order employees' families to leave the island, have been the subject of much speculation. The majority of the cases took place in 2017, and more than a year passed before the 13th case was reported in November.

The Canadian government continues to investigate the potential causes of the unusual health symptoms experienced by some Canadian diplomatic staff and their family members posted in Havana, Cuba.

Canadian authorities say they are getting good co-operation from the Cuban government, which is also frustrated by the incidents.

In Canada, the RCMP continues to lead a government-wide probe into the cause of the health symptoms, which officials conceded Wednesday still remains unknown. Washington has reduced diplomatic staff in Cuba with more than 50 to 18 people, after at least 22 of diplomats and their families have suffered as a result of the mysterious "acoustic attack". She said the reduction also would help "those who in the United States use this issue to attack and denigrate Cuba".

Canada has a positive and constructive relationship with Cuba.

Very early on in the investigation, USA security agencies discarded the possibility that the sounds themselves could be the cause of the illnesses suffered by the diplomats.

A Canadian official said government officials are working closely with US officials.

The individual, who can not be identified for privacy reasons, arrived in Havana in mid-2018 and reported symptoms on December 29, officials told reporters during a teleconference call from Ottawa.

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