Cas­tro re­sponse to at­tack sur­pris­ing

Toronto Sun - - NEWS -

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

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