Statement on U.S. Expulsion of Cuban Diplomats in Washington

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, President of Engage Cuba, James Williams released the following statement on the U.S. decision to expel 60% of Cuban diplomatic personnel in Washington, DC. This decision follows last Friday's announcement that the U.S. government will slash U.S. embassy staff in Havana.

"The diplomats and their families suffering from unexplained health issues deserve answers. If the U.S. government is serious about solving this mystery, they shouldn't make it more difficult to cooperate with the Cuban government during this critical time of the investigation. This decision appears to be purely political, driven by the desire of a handful of individuals in Congress to halt progress between our two countries.

"Expelling Cuban diplomats will not solve this mystery; it will not improve the safety of U.S. personnel, but it will make it harder for hundreds of thousands of Cuban-Americans to visit their families on the island.

"We hope that the driving forces behind this decision are comfortable with their Cuban-American constituents being unable to visit their loved ones."

Last week, Barbara Stephenson, the president of the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), stated that they are against cutting down on diplomats in Havana. Stephenson said that AFSA members, "are clear that they have a mission to do. American diplomats need to remain on the field and in the game.”