September 15, 2017 / 4:24 PM / 7 days ago

U.S. lawmakers want retaliation for acoustic incidents in Cuba

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A group of Republican U.S. senators called on Friday for Washington to retaliate for an alleged “acoustic attack” on U.S. personnel in Cuba by expelling Cuban diplomats and possibly closing the U.S. embassy in Havana.

The U.S. State Department said in August that Americans linked to the embassy in the Cuban capital have experienced physical symptoms caused by unspecific “incidents” starting as far back as late 2016.

Cuba has denied involvement in the incidents. The U.S. State Department did not immediately response to a request for comment.

Some of those affected experienced permanent hearing damage. The incident outraged many in Washington, fueling calls from many Republicans for President Donald Trump to reverse Democratic former President Barack Obama’s moves toward more normal diplomatic relations with the former Cold War foe.

In a letter, the five Republicans - Senators Tom Cotton, Richard Burr, John Cornyn, Marco Rubio and James Lankford - urged Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to remind the Cuban government of its responsibility toward diplomats.

“Furthermore, we ask that you immediately declare all accredited Cuban diplomats in the United States persona non grata and, if Cuba does not take tangible action, close the U.S. Embassy in Havana,” they wrote.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Jonathan Oatis

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