US to ask Cuba to cut embassy staff by 60 percent
The Trump administration will ask Cuba to cut their Washington embassy staff by 60 percent following a mystery illness that spawned diplomatic fracas in Havana.
The US request marks yet another major setback for relations between the United States and Cuba, two countries that only recently renewed diplomatic relations after a half-century of hostility. It comes as the US seeks to protect its own diplomats from unexplained attacks that have harmed at least 21 Americans in Havana with ailments that affected their hearing, cognition, balance and vision.
The State Department is expected to announce the decision Tuesday, officials said, though they cautioned no decision was formalized until publicly announced. The officials weren't authorized to discuss the plan publicly and requested anonymity. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson discussed the plan Monday with President Donald Trump, one of the officials said.
Cuba has denied involvement in the attacks. Though Havana is likely to view the move as unwarranted retaliation.
US Officials claim the move by the State Department is not intended as a punishment but instead will be used to ensure both embassies had an equal amount of diplomats.