What is going on with Raul Castro?

In the face of recent incidents with US and Canadian diplomats, the Cuban leader showed a surprising attitude

Raul Castro

Leer en Español: What is going on with Raul Castro?

The president of Cuba personally contacted the highest-ranking US diplomat in La Havana, Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, to address Washington's concerns about the health effects that several of his diplomats suffered in the Cuban capital. There was talk of "sonic attacks" and there was a subtle threat of repercussions from the United States, which, until recently, was a sworn enemy of the island. However, there were the expulsion of two Cuban diplomats in retaliation for incidents in Cuban territory.

Instead of leaving the issue to his subordinates, Castro personally denied any responsibility of his government. The Cubans, under Castro's lead, even offered to allow the FBI to enter La Havana to investigate. Security agencies in both nations have cooperated more frequently since the US-Cuba relations were thawed in 2015. However, the entry permit was extraordinary. The Mounted Police of Canada were also allowed to enter the island and conduct their own investigation.

For press agencies, for Cubans and, to a greater extent, for Americans, the response from Cuba perplexes and astonished all public officials since the island had never been so open to foreign forces.

The search for a culprit is the priority, but finding it will not be easy, because the clues are few and the investigations have not shed any certainty. Speculation in diplomatic circles points to Russia or North Korea as a measure to destabilize relations, but to engage a third country the task is not easy and it generates tension in the US government. Another theory that the investigators handle involves dissident circles in the Cuban government that would be against the policy of approaching the United States, which is not easy to prove.

The scandal of the US diplomatic personnel, whose health was affected while working in La Havana at the end of last year, remains in a cloak of mystery that borders on the unusual. The situation became complicated when Canadian diplomatic officials in Cuba also reported similar damages, which has caused surprise as Canada is one of the Cuban government's closest collaborators.

After half a century of rocky relations between the two nations that are separated by only 90 miles, the United States and Cuba restored diplomatic ties in 2015. The respective embassies reopened and trade and tourism restrictions were relaxed. President Trump has reversed some of those changes, but he has maintained many others.

 

Latin American Post | Carlos Eduardo Gómez Avella

Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto 

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