Canada cuts diplomatic staffing in Cuba

Canadian embassy

"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 in Havana", Global Affairs Canada said in a statement.

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

In this April 17, 2018 file photo, a man walks beside Canada's embassy in Havana, Cuba.

Following the last confirmed case of unusual health symptoms in November 2018, a number of Canadian diplomatic staff posted to Havana underwent additional medical testing.

Canada will continue to have an embassy in Havana, Cuba, headed by an ambassador.

The new case brings to 14 the number of Canadians - alongside 25 Americans - who have reported unexplained symptoms from dizziness, fatigue, headaches, hearing and vision complications, to loss of balance, nausea and an inability to concentrate.

"Our thoughts are with all those affected from Canada and the U.S. We demand the Cuban government fulfill its obligation to protect foreign diplomats & their families", Breier tweeted. The majority of the cases took place in 2017, and more than a year passed before the 13th case was reported in November.

The employees of the Canadian embassy are not the only ones who have been showing the unusual symptoms.

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Canada will continue to have an ambassador in Havana and officials said full consular services will be available to Canadians.

"This decision contrasts with the level, status and presence of Canadian diplomatic staff in other world capitals where they do not enjoy as much safety, tranquility, good health situation, and hospitality as in Cuba".

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said this incident in China was very similar and entirely consistent with the medical indications of the incidents in Cuba and announced the establishment of a special task force to respond to the mysterious sonic incidents overseas.

In March the United States chose to permanently send a scaled-down number of staff members to its embassy after USA officials divulged that 25 embassy employees there were victims of alleged sonic attacks.

"This behaviour favours those who in the United States use this issue to attack and denigrate Cuba", Ms. Vidal said.

The staff of Canada's embassy in Cuba began falling ill after hearing loud piercing sounds beginning in early 2017, just like their American counterparts.

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

The Canadian official said they have no information to indicate a cause or what or who might be behind it.

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