HAVANA (CBSMiami) – Lawmakers are demanding more answers about who and what caused serious health problems for American diplomats in Cuba.
Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee received a briefing Wednesday from State Department officials about the unexplained attacks in Cuba that have impacted at least 21 American diplomats and their families.
Committee Chair Bob Corker called the lack of answers “absurd.”
“They know everything that’s going on inside that country. So what we said to them is ‘look, we’re not saying it’s you, but what we’re saying is we want it ended and we want you guys to figure out a way of ending it,'” Corker said.
The FBI is investigating the medical mystery that unfolded late last year. Employees at the Cuban embassy have reported a wide range of symptoms from permanent hearing loss to concussions. But so far, the source is unknown.
The U.S. has already taken action against Cuba, warning Americans not to travel there and pulling out 60 percent of U.S. diplomats from the embassy in Havana.
On Tuesday, the State Department ordered the expulsion of 15 Cuban diplomats from its embassy in Washington.
“This is more about reciprocity than it is retribution,” said Sen. Marco Rubio.
Rubio said it’s Cuba’s responsibility to protect Americans in the country, and its failure to do so must come with consequences.
“If we have to drawdown two-thirds of our personnel in Havana, they should have to drawdown two-thirds of their personnel in Washington, D.C.,” he said.
The Trump administration has not blamed the Cuban government, but the attacks have created a setback in the ongoing effort to restore their relationship.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. will continue diplomatic talks in Washington, and will cooperate with Cuba as the investigation moves forward.