October 10, 2017 Press Contact:
IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION Frank Calzon:202-427-3875
FORMER DIPLOMATS, PROFESSORS CIVIC LEADERS ASK PRESIDENT TRUMP TO ADDRESS “ISSUES”WITH CUBA BEFORE SENDING DIPLOMATS BACK TO HAVANA
In a letter to President Donald Trump, several former diplomats, professors, civic leaders and business entrepreneurs told the President that they support his decision to withdraw American diplomats from Cuba until “ measures are taken to prevent further injury.” They also urged the President not to send them back until the regime addresses “other pending issues” between the two countries.
The issues they list include the deployment of “thousands of Cuban soldiers in Venezuela”, the return of “Russian spy ships that monitor American military traffic to Havana Harbor,” Cuba’s theft of a Hellfire missile that was used at a NATO exercise in Europe, and the “attempted smuggling of war planes and missiles to North Korea in violation of UN sanctions” under tons of sugar.
The diplomats signing are .Ambassador James C. Cason, former Chief of mission at the U.S. Interests Section in Cuba and former US ambassador to Paraguay, Ambassador Everett T. Briggs, former U.S. ambassador to Portugal, Panama and Honduras, Ambassador Otto J. Reich, former ambassador to Venezuela and Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs and Ambassador Jose Sorzano, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Also signing are Professor Carlos Eire, Yale University, Dr. Jaime Suchlicki, director Cuban Studies Institute, Enrico Mario Santí, Research Professor at Claremont Graduate University ,Professor Graciella Cruz Taura, Florida Atlantic University and
Mary E. Curtis Horowitz, Foundation for Social Policy, among others.
The letter also included the recommendation that “the diplomatic staff in the Cuban embassy in Washington be reduced proportionally to the reduction of US diplomatic staff in Cuba, a measured already taken by the Administration by the time the letter was delivered.
A copy of the full text and signatories follows. .
President Donald Trump
September 29, 2017
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW,
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
On behalf of the Center for a Free Cuba, we write to commend your Administration’s strong steps on behalf of US diplomats and other employees stationed at the US Embassy in Havana. Their safety is of paramount importance; if it cannot be guaranteed, it raises doubt about the ability of the US Government to protect Americans anywhere.
These attacks include permanent loss of hearing, concussions, “mild” brain trauma, headaches and persistent ringing in the ears. Havana claims it is not responsible and it does not know who did it. Coming from a regime that has repeatedly violated diplomatic protocol, broken into US diplomatic pouches, and harassed personnel from what it considers hostile nations, especially ours, this denial rings false.
Your decision to withdraw a significant number of American personnel and warn American tourists against visiting Cuba in response to the Cuban Government’s aggression is the kind of action that totalitarian rulers in the Castro family understand. We can expect them to complain loudly and deny repeatedly, because they became accustomed to manipulating the previous US Administration.
Press reports indicate that “as [the] number of injured diplomats soared, [the] State Department kept Cuba attacks secret.” CBS says that an “internal Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs document [it] obtained shows the State Department was fully aware of the extent of the attacks on its diplomats in Havana, long before it was forced to acknowledge them.” It is disturbing to learn that the “sonic attacks” against US personnel began in the fall of 2016 but the Department of State said nothing until August of this year. Some argue that this is an inexplicable occurrence because, they say, the Cold War between the United States and Cuba was ended by President Barack Obama and General Raul Castro two years ago.
Mr. President, Havana’s anti-American actions have not stopped. For example, during negotiations with the Obama Administration that went on for nearly three years, General Raul Castro attempted smuggling war planes and missiles to North Korea in violation of UN sanctions. His security services stole an American missile that had been used at a NATO exercise in Europe. Russian spy ships that monitor American military traffic were welcomed back in Havana Harbor. Havana keeps thousands of soldiers in Venezuela, Cuba continues to harbor American terrorists, and plays a hostile role in support of America’s enemies at the United Nations.
Your Administration’s Cuba policy review continues. Nevertheless, Mr. President, “personnel is policy.” Even after you announced in June a reversal of President Obama’s misguided Cuba “opening,” key positions at the State Department remain occupied by proponents of policies you have decried. For a successful Latin American policy under your Administration it is important that personnel supportive of the goals you have expressed about Cuba be in charge of U.S. - Latin American policy.
We support your actions to protect the physical integrity of Americans stationed and visiting everywhere, including Cuba. Once our American diplomats stationed in Havana receive medical checkups and required treatment back in the United States, we trust they will not be sent back until measures are taken to prevent further injuries and the Cuban government has made amends, including addressing to our nation’s satisfaction the other pending issues that undermine the notion that normal relations with the Castro regime are possible. Moreover, we recommend that the diplomatic staff in the Cuban embassy in Washington be reduced proportionally to the reduction of US diplomatic staff in Cuba.
Thank you very much for your efforts to remedy the situation.
Ambassador James C. Cason, President, Center for a Free Cuba, former Chief of U.S. Mission, Havana, Cuba firstname.lastname@example.org
Guillermo Marmol, Business entrepreneur, civic leader
Ambassador Jose Sorzano, Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
Mary E. Curtis Horowitz, Foundation for Social Policy
Enrico Mario Santí, Research Professor at Claremont Graduate University
Ambassador Everett Ellis Briggs, Former U.S. Ambassador to Portugal, Panama, Honduras
Professor Carlos M. N. Eire, Yale University
Manuel E. Iglesias, Civic leader, business entrepreneur
Beatriz Casals, business entrepreneur, civic leader
Professor Graciella Cruz-Taura, Florida Atlantic University
Robert A. O’Brien, Business entrepreneur, civic leader
Dr. Joaquin P. Pujol, International public servant
Dr. Eduardo Zayas-Bazán, Professor Emeritus, East Tennessee State University
Sylvia G. Iriondo, President, MAR por Cuba (Mothers against Repression)
Jorge A. Sanguinetty, Chairman and Senior Advisor, DevTech Systems, Inc.
Raul Masvidal, Business entrepreneur, civic leader
Dr. Jaime Suchlicki, Director, Cuban Studies Institute
Sebastian Arcos, Florida International University
Ambassador Otto J. Reich, Former U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs