From his perch on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., applauded the Trump administration ordering 15 Cuban diplomats off of American soil.
With reports that 21 U.S. diplomatic personnel were targeted by sonic attacks in Cuba, in recent days, Rubio and other members of the Florida congressional delegation called on the State Department to strike back.
U.S. Sec. of State Rex Tillerson announced on Tuesday that his department had ordered Cuba to remove 15 of its diplomats from the United States.
“On October 3, the Department of State informed the government of Cuba that it was ordering the departure of 15 of its officials from its embassy in Washington, D.C. ," Tillerson announced. “The decision was made due to Cuba’s failure to take appropriate steps to protect our diplomats in accordance with its obligations under the Vienna Convention. This order will ensure equity in our respective diplomatic operations.
“On September 29, the Department ordered the departure of non-emergency personnel assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Havana, as well as all family members,” Tillerson added. “Until the government of Cuba can ensure the safety of our diplomats in Cuba, our embassy will be reduced to emergency personnel to minimize the number of diplomats at risk of exposure to harm.
“We continue to maintain diplomatic relations with Cuba, and will continue to cooperate with Cuba as we pursue the investigation into these attacks,” Tillerson said in conclusion.
Rubio, who had been calling for the State Department to retaliate against Cuba for the attacks, applauded the decision on Tuesday.
“As American diplomatic personnel continue to come under attack in Havana, I commend the U.S. State Department for expelling a number of Cuban operatives from the U.S.,” Rubio said. “No one should be fooled by the Castro regime’s claim it knows nothing about how these harmful attacks are occurring or who perpetrated them. I have called on the State Department to conduct an independent investigation and submit a comprehensive report to Congress, and I look forward to reviewing it. All nations have an obligation to ensure the protection of diplomatic representatives in their countries. Cuba is failing miserably and proving how misguided and dangerous the Obama administration's decisions were. At this time, the U.S. embassy in Havana should be downgraded to an interests section and we should be prepared to consider additional measures against the Castro regime if these attacks continue.”