WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump said on Monday that he believed Cuba’s government was behind the sonic attacks that injured 22 officials working at the US Embassy in Havana and sparked a diplomatic crisis.
“I do believe Cuba’s responsible. I do believe that, and it’s a very unusual attack, as you know, but I do believe Cuba’s responsible, yes,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
The president did not comment further about the sonic attacks targeting diplomats on the island.
The State Department has not blamed the Cuban government, saying that it did not know who was responsible for the attacks, which the FBI is investigating.
Washington, however, has accused Havana of failing to protect US diplomatic personnel working on Cuban territory.
The Cuban government, for its part, denied staging the attacks and said an investigation was opened as soon as officials became aware of what happened.
Havana has also complained about a lack of cooperation on the part of US officials and an absence of evidence pertaining to the sonic attacks.
Last week, Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, said the administration’s position was that “the Cuban government could stop the attacks on our diplomats.”
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in the wake of Kelly’s comments that the chief of staff was probably referring to Cuba’s obligation under the Vienna Convention to protect diplomatic personnel.
In response to the attacks, the State Department reduced the number of employees at the US Embassy in Havana to a minimum, forcing officials to stop issuing visas and provide only emergency consular services.
Last week, Washington ordered 15 Cuban Embassy officials to leave the US, a move that ratcheted up bilateral tensions, which had been rising since Trump took office on Jan. 20.