Saturday, May 11, 2019

Canada downsizes embassy in Cuba

Image result for cuba canada images
As you may remember, U.S. diplomats were victims of “sonic attacks” in Cuba.  
Apparently, a Canadian diplomat was hit, too.   
And Canada is fighting back, as we see in this report from the CBC:  
Cubans were dismayed on Thursday to learn Canada’s embassy in Havana was no longer processing visa applications due to staffing cutbacks over unexplained health incidents among Canadian and U.S. diplomats in the Cuban capital.
Canada, which in January reduced its embassy to skeletal staffing, announced on Wednesday it would no longer process applications for visitor and residence visas or work and study permits.
The U.S. Embassy already had reduced staffing and stopped processing visa applications in 2017. Cubans have been forced to go to third countries for them, adding expense and difficulty.
Canada said in a statement that Cubans could apply for a visa at an embassy in a third country or online but it was not clear if Cubans always had to pick them up abroad. 
Canada’s foreign ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Canada is correct in fighting back.  Cuba has not been very forthright in explaining what the “sonic attack” was all about.  
Cubans on the island will be hit very hard.  First, most Cubans cannot go online and apply for anything. Second, I am not sure that the other embassies want the visa request traffic.
Of course, the solution is for the Cuban government to accept responsibility and be more transparent about what happened.  Something happened, people were hurt and blaming it on “crickets” is not acceptable.
P.S.  You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

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