Statement on U.S. Cuts to Havana Embassy Personnel & Travel Alert

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, President of Engage Cuba, James Williams, released the following statement on the U.S. Department of State's decision to reduce Havana embassy personnel and urge Americans not to travel to Cuba:

"The safety and security of all diplomatic personnel in Cuba, and anywhere in the world, is the first priority of our country. Whoever is behind these serious and inexcusable attacks on American diplomats must be apprehended and brought to justice. We must be careful that our response does not play into the hands of the perpetrators of these attacks, who are clearly seeking to disrupt the process of normalizing relations between our two countries. This could set a dangerous precedent that could be used by our enemies around the world.

"It is puzzling that the Trump Administration would use this delicate time in the investigation to advise Americans against traveling to Cuba, given the fact that none of these attacks have been directed at American travelers.

We are also concerned for the Cuban people, who will be impacted by this decision. Halting the visa process in Cuba and discouraging Americans from traveling to Cuba will divide families and harm Cuba's burgeoning private sector, civil society groups and efforts to improve human rights on the island.

The U.S. and Cuba must redouble efforts to solve this mystery as quickly as possible in order to keep our embassy personnel safe and continue to move forward with strengthening relations between our two countries."

Earlier this 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.”