Officials with the Cuban government met at the Department of State this week for routine migration talks. Judging from the tone of the Cuban Foreign Ministry press statement about the meeting, it appears as if the session could’ve gone better. For example,
The Cuban delegation expressed deep concern over the negative impact that the unilateral, unfounded and politically motivated decisions adopted by the US Government in September and October of 2017 have on migration relations between both countries.
… the Cuban delegation reiterated its rejection of the arbitrary expulsion of a considerable group of officials from the Cuban embassy in Washington, which has seriously affected the functioning of the diplomatic mission, particularly the Consulate and the services it offers to Cubans residing in the United States, as well as US citizens who continue to be interested in traveling to our country.
What the statement fails to point out are the reasons why the Trump administration expelled Cuban diplomats from Washington, D.C. as well as, essentially, shuttering the U.S. Embassy in Havana. According to news reports, close to a dozen or likely more American citizens posted at the U.S. Embassy in Havana have suffered debilitating injuries likely arising from a listening operation that went south.
Here is another excerpt from the Cuban Foreign Ministry statement:
The Cuban delegation once again warned about the negative effect resulting from the suspension of the granting of visas by the US Consulate in Havana. The decision to discontinue the processing of visas applied for by Cubans willing to visit or migrate to that country is seriously hampering family relations and all kinds of exchanges between both peoples.
Warned? Cuba warned U.S. counterparts?
The best response, to date, about the attacks on U.S. diplomatic personnel are Secretary Tillerson’s reminder to Communist Party leaders that they’re in charge of a “small island” police state. Nothing happens in Cuba without Raul Castro’s permission:
In response to a reporter’s question about the migration talks, also this week U.S. State Department spokesman Heather Nauret summed it well:
While I’m sympathetic to family reunification and the fact that people want to visit their family members, I’m also sympathetic to the fact that our diplomats were targeted in Cuba and that people have faced some serious health consequences. Some are still receiving medical treatment. That situation has – is still unresolved. We have an investigation that is still underway. We were forced to have to draw down the size of our embassy, the size of our embassy personnel. The mere fact that we had to reduce the size of our embassy personnel means sorry, not every Cuban is going to be able to get their visa handled in Cuba; you’re not going to have all the conveniences that perhaps you did in the past when we’re forced to draw down the size of the embassy.
Cuban regime officials seem to be dug in like Appalachian ticks with the yarn that Cuba had nothing to do with the attacks and, furthermore, that they do not know who was involved. Good luck with that. You’re going to need it. That may have worked during the Obama administration, but there is a new sheriff or two in town.
One last observation. I’ve read a few stories the past few days that the Russians are returning to Cuba after a prolonged post-Cold War absence. Or this gem, that Cuba is rushing back to Russia, in response to the Trump administration’s re-orientation of U.S.-Cuba policy. Friends, Russia never left.