U.S. gives Cuba one week to withdraw 15 diplomats

U.S. gives Cuba one week to withdraw 15 diplomats

[Ed. – Another Obama-era initiative goes sideways.]

The United States expelled 15 of Cuba’s diplomats Tuesday to protest its failure to protect Americans from unexplained attacks in Havana, plunging diplomatic ties between the countries to levels unseen in years.

Only days ago, the U.S. and Cuba maintained dozens of diplomats in newly re-opened embassies in Havana and Washington, powerful symbols of a warming relationship between longtime foes. Now both countries are poised to cut their embassies by more than half, as invisible, unexplained attacks threaten delicate ties between the Cold War rivals.

The State Department gave Cuba’s ambassador a list Tuesday of 15 names and ordered them out within one week, officials said, in a move that aims to “ensure equity” between each nation’s embassy staffing. Last week, the U.S. announced it was withdrawing 60 percent of its own diplomats from Havana because they might be attacked and harmed if they stay.

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The dual moves marked a sharp escalation in the U.S. response to attacks that began nearly a year ago and yet remain unexplained despite harming at least 22 Americans — including a new victim identified this week.

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