Seven months after the Trump administration notified the Cuban government that a number of Americans have suffered debilitating injuries from sonic harassment attacks, the former Army airborne infantry officer representing Arkansas in the Senate joined colleagues in signing a Sept. 15 letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson demanding he gets serious with the Marxist island nation.
“We urge Secretary Tillerson to remind the Cuban government of its obligation to protect American diplomats and to demand that it take verifiable action to remove these threats to them and their families,” said Sen. Thomas B. “Tom” Cotton, in a statement posted on his official Facebook page Friday.
“We also ask him to immediately declare all accredited Cuban diplomats in the United States persona non grata and, if Cuba does not take tangible action, to close the U.S. embassy in Havana,” Cotton said. “Persona non grata” is a formal diplomatic status, which means that the individual must leave the country.
Cotton co-signed the letter with senators Richard M. Burr (R.-N.C.), John Cornyn III (R.-Texas), Marco A. Rubio (R.-Fla.) and James P. Lankford (R-Okla.), which detailed the senators’ concerns the harassment and acoustic attacks on more than 20 American diplomats in Cuba.
The acoustic attacks took place after President Barack Obama restored diplomatic relations with Cuba and reopened the America embassy there July 20, 2015. The targeted sound attacks affected more than different members of the diplomatic staff differently, but the injuries were severe enough to force Americans to end their postings and return home.
Canadian diplomats were also targeted.
There is speculation that the attacks were executed with a secret sonic weapon.
Secretary Tillerson should expel Cubans in the US and close our embassy in Cuba over attacks on our diplomats: https://t.co/wqWHtpY1kE
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) September 15, 2017
Closing the American embassy in Havana would be a dramatic reversal of Obama’s Cuban policy, highlighted by the former president’s high-profile trip to Cuba, accompanied by his family and a large entourage of administration officials and members of his political family.
In the letter to Tillerson, the senators expressed their frustration with both the State Department and the Cuban government.
“Our officials and their families have been the targets of unacceptable levels of harassment and “acoustic” attacks that, in some cases, have caused permanent hearing damage and other significant injuries,” they wrote. “The safety of U.S. diplomatic personnel and their families posted overseas remains one of our high priorities and a shared responsibility of those nations that host U.S. diplomatic facilities. We urge you to remind the Cuban government of its obligation and to demand that it take verifiable action to remove these threats to our personnel and their families.”
President Donald J. Trump, then a candidate for president, promised in a Sept. 16, 2016 speech in Miami that he would undo Obama’s appeasement of the Cuban regime and bring back sanctions against the regime in an effort to force reform there.
In July, the administration announced it was restricting tourism and other people-to-people programs.
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Tommy Tuberville Says “We Can’t Worry About China Right Now”
Even though they allowed the disease to spread.
Former football coach and Alabama US Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville said that “we can’t worry about China right now” in a radio appearance with Talk 99.5’s “Matt and Aunie Show on Thursday.
When asked by hosts about the implications of the global coronavirus epidemic on the United States’ relationship with China, Tuberville said, “Well, we can’t worry about China right now. We’ve gotta worry about Alabama and this country.”
Tuberville is currently running to represent Alabama in the United States Senate, although he’s been registered as a Florida voter in the past.
His comments on China policy will leave many Americans concerned with the nation’s role in the coronavirus epidemic unsatisfied. Certainly, containing the epidemic in this country is the priority, but a wide range of conservatives and China hawks have already begun to discuss the need to fundamentally reevaluate the United States’ relationship with China. The damage already inflicted upon American society and the global economy does present a pressing case that such a question is in fact urgent.
Tuberville is running for Senator, not Governor. He could be forgiven if he was running for an office not entrusted with high-level foreign policy responsibilities, but Senators in the coming months and years will be entrusted with developing China policy that recognizes the authoritarian communist nation’s role in allowing and covering up the global coronavirus epidemic.
Contrasting in stark fashion, Tuberville’s opponent for the Republican nomination for US Senate in Alabama, Jeff Sessions, has called for a congressional select committee to investigate China’s role in covering up the dangers posed to the world by the coronavirus, the virus’ origin in Wuhan, and potentially lying about the casualties incurred as a result of the disease in China.
I am calling today for Congress to immediately establish a Select Committee on China to lead the investigation. This Select Committee should be given the authority to wield the full investigative powers, including the power to compel witnesses, of the United States Congress.
— Jeff Sessions (@jeffsessions) April 1, 2020
If Alabama voters want a Republican Senator who is going to be tough on China, it doesn’t look like Tommy Tuberville is up to task.
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