Thursday, July 7, 2022

Canada decides to cut diplomatic staff in Cuba


Zubair Yaqoob
The author has diversified experience in investigative journalism. He is Chief content editor at
Canada has decided to cut its diplomatic staff in Cuba by as much as half after another person feels ill, raising the number of Canadians who have had mysterious symptoms since 2017 to 14.


Cuban ambassador to Canada, Josephina Vidal, said in a statement on Thursday that Havana considered the Ottawa decision “incomprehensible” as it would not help to blur the facts of health and would damage bilateral relations.


“This behavior helps those who use this issue in the United States to attack Cuba and discredit its reputation, ” Vidal said.


The Cuban government is cooperating with a Canadian investigation into the cause of the disease, which has yet to be determined.


Cuba remains committed to maintaining good bilateral relations with Canada despite its decision, she said.


For his part, a Canadian official said: “Another cut in the (Canadian Embassy) is the appropriate response.”


A Canadian government source said the diplomatic staff in Cuba would be reduced to eight out of 16.


The November incident was the first new Canadian case reported in months, prompting the government to take a decision to reduce the number of remaining employees, leaving the wives of employees and their dependents last year.


US and Canadian diplomats in Havana began complaining of vertigo, headaches and nausea in the spring of 2017.


The United States has reduced its embassy staff to 18, more than 50, after more than 25 people felt unusually ill.


Canada is also one of Cuba’s top 10 trade partners with trade volume of $ 790 million in 2017.


The latest Cuban trade figures indicate that Canada is Cuba’s only trading partner among the 10 countries whose trade balance is favoring Havana.

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