Castro response to attack surprising
HAVANA — Raul Castro seemed rattled.
The Cuban president sent for the top American envoy in the country to address grave concerns about a spate of U.S. diplomats harmed in Havana.
There was talk of futuristic “sonic attacks” and the subtle threat of repercussions by the United States, until recently Cuba’s sworn enemy.
The way Castro responded surprised Washington, several U.S. officials familiar with the exchange told The Associated Press.
In a rare face-to-face conversation, Castro told U.S. diplomat Jeffrey DeLaurentis that he was equally baffled, and concerned.
Predictably, Castro denied any responsibility.
But U.S. officials were caught off guard by the way he addressed the matter, devoid of the indignant, how-dareyou-accuseus attitude the U.S. had come to expect from Cuba’s leaders.
The Cubans even offered to let the FBI come down to Havana to investigate.
Though U.S.-Cuban cooperation has improved recently — there was a joint “law enforcement dialogue” Friday in Washington — this level of access was extraordinary.
The list of confirmed American victims was much shorter on Feb. 17, when the U.S. first complained to Cuba.
Today, the number of “medically confirmed” cases stands at 21 — plus several Canadians.
Some Americans have permanent hearing loss or mild brain injury.
The developments have frightened Havana’s tight-knit diplomatic community.
Investigators have considered whether a rogue faction of Cuba’s security forces had acted, possibly in combination with another country like Russia or North Korea.
CASTro Sonic waves