Fan: So much for promoting capitalism in Cuba…
Chris: I think the announcement may have been a hasty decision given that no American travelers have been targeted but at the same time the U.S. government has to do its job to keep people safe, it’s definitely up for debate.
Fan: It’s definitely hasty to end the processing of visas. Foreign service workers have already voiced their opposition to the Trump administration’s policy of effectively shutting down the embassy. Given that these attacks began in 2016 under the Obama administration, it makes zero sense that the Cuban government would be the perpetrators during a time of warming relations. It makes even less sense that the Cuban government would also target the diplomats of longtime ally, Canada. This is the work of Russian FSB, who taught the Cuban government how to conduct state security & intelligence operations, and as such, are uniquely positioned to know and exploit the very few weaknesses and vulnerabilities in Cuban national security.
Chris: I’m also of the opinion that we’re playing into the hands of an interested third party that wants to undermine our normalization with Cuba. My take is that we should have negotiated with the Cuban government so that we would have been given more leeway to conduct our own full and thorough investigation before making an announcement like that and suspending the issuance of visas to Cubans coming to the United States, which seems unrelated altogether. I don’t rule out the possibility that it could have been the Cuban government but as you pointed out it doesn’t make sense from a motive standpoint.
In a string of hasty decisions, the U.S. discouraged Americans from traveling to Cuba (although no American travelers have been targeted or injured), decreased staff by over half at the embassy in Havana effectively shutting it down, and announced the suspension of the issuance of visas to Cubans wishing to travel to the United States, which seems like an unrelated matter altogether. This was all done as the investigation is still underway. It is my belief that these decisions were unwise given that the sonar attacks began under President Obama and also affected Canadian diplomats. A proper course of action would have been for the U.S. to demand a more active role in the ongoing investigation into the cause of the attacks, using the normalization of relations as leverage to be granted this involvement. On the surface, it seems the only ones who will suffer from these decisions are the Cuban and American people collectively.