Fri | Aug 17, 2018

Trump: Cuba 'is responsible' for attacks on US personnel

Published:Tuesday | October 17, 2017 | 12:00 AM
President Donald Trump answers questions as he speaks with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., in the Rose Garden after their meeting at the White House yesterday.

Trump: Cuba 'is responsible' for attacks on US personnel


President Donald Trump said yesterday that he believes Cuba is responsible for unexplained, invisible attacks in Cuba that have harmed American government workers.

Though Trump's comments appeared to be a new allegation, it wasn't clear whether he meant Cuba was behind the attacks or merely shared the onus because it failed to keep Americans safe on its soil. The United States has avoided casting blame on Cuban President Ra?l Castro's government for the attacks that began last year and have eluded an FBI investigation.

"I do believe Cuba's responsible. I do believe that," Trump said in a Rose Garden news conference. "And it's a very unusual attack, as you know. But I do believe Cuba is responsible."

The president did not elaborate.

There was no immediate reaction from Cuba's embassy in Washington. Castro's government has repeatedly denied both involvement in and knowledge of the attacks.

Trump offered no new details about what type of weapon might have caused damage ranging from permanent hearing loss to mild traumatic brain injury, or concussion. The State Department has said that despite the lengthy investigation and FBI visits to the island, the US still can't identify either a culprit or a device.

Trump's ambiguous allegation against the Cubans was likely to increase tensions even further between the two former enemies. The US and Cuba re-opened diplomatic relations in 2015 after a half-century of estrangement, but the attacks on Americans and steps taken by Washington in response have started to unravel those budding ties.

The US has not explicitly accused any actor of perpetrating the attacks, which in some cases involved mysterious, blaring sounds that led to investigators to consider whether a sonic weapon was involved.