April 11th, 2009
09:11 AM ET
5 years ago

US says Cuba tried to hurt American morale, poison family pets

A State Department report says the Cuban government has purposely made life difficult for US diplomats in Havana.
A State Department report says the Cuban government has purposely made life difficult for US diplomats in Havana.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Cuba purposely has made life difficult for U.S. diplomats serving in the U.S. Interest Section in Havana and has even poisoned family pets to hurt American morale, according to a State Department report released Friday.

The report dates back to 2007, but its release comes just days before the Obama administration is expected to ease some restrictions on Cuban-Americans sending money to Cuba and visiting family there.

And it is made public just days after a Congressional Black Caucus delegation returned from Cuba and provided glowing reports of how they were received by Cuban leaders Fidel and Raul Castro.

The report was prepared by the State Department inspector general. It repeatedly mentions poor morale among U.S. diplomats serving in Cuba, saying the Cuban government "lets you know it's hostile."

Without full diplomatic relations with Cuba, and with a trade and travel embargo still in place, there is no U.S. Embassy. The Interests Section issues visas and performs other diplomatic services.

And the report says the apparent goal of Cuban authorities has been to provoke dissension within the ranks of American diplomats.

"Retaliations have ranged from the petty to the poisoning of family pets. The regime has recently gone to great lengths to harass some employees by holding up household goods and consumable shipments," the report said.

It says Cuban authorities created difficulties for U.S. personnel on a daily basis.

"The Cuban government has denied recent arrivals the right to import privately owned vehicles and held up the release of household effects and consumable shipments for months on end," the report said.

"Currently, no newcomer has a privately owned vehicle stranded in a container in Havana, but household effects and consumable shipments are languishing in containers awaiting customs clearance. Customs clearance has also lagged for some unaccompanied air freight shipments," the report said.


Filed under: Cuba
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. Mississippi Mike

    Wow, our enemy is acting like they don't like us. Imagine that.

    April 11, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  2. Jose

    PETA should send a delegation to protest.

    April 11, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  3. Brian, Detroit, MI

    If the US abandoned Cuba, why were there diplomats in Cuba??? If you ask me, it was the diplomats fault that they were being targeted. Maybe they were pedofiles raping Cuba's children. I heard that happens in Cuba, set Cuba free and let their people find another way to make money. I KNOW that the diplomats were doing something that got them targeted. Open trade to Cuba and the US citizens will find a new source of income. Send manufacturing companies down there and their source of money will not be pimping out their children. If you ask me, it was their own fault.

    April 11, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  4. Reality Check

    This official report released by a democrat-controlled state dept just confirms the typical behavior of a totalitarian regime, mistreatment of diplomats with families. It is comical that derangement has infected some people with delusions of some political conspiracy. Maybe a few days living under Castro's regime would cure you!

    April 11, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  5. Beth

    MD, no disrespect, but I am confused by your comment. Do you realize exactly how horrible Fidel Castro is? He is a murderous, tyrannical dictator who has no respect for human rights. I don't think Americans have anything against the Cuban citizens, just Castro. So we should show tolerance toward a man such as Castro? If people are so concerned about human rights, why are you wanting to kiss up to a man like Castro?

    April 11, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  6. Matt

    Unreasonable economic stranglehold for 60 years while maintaining a controversial military presence VS a dead dog. I see a clear winner.

    April 11, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  7. James

    Maybe Obama can have Fidel over to the White House and stay in the Lincoln suite just like Clinton did with Chines. Boy working with communist sure has worked out well for us????

    Social liberialism (other wise known as socialism) embraces all the outcasts.....even mass murderers!

    April 11, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  8. Matt Lawrence

    Before you think Cuba is our friend, read BETRAYAL: Clinton, Castro & The Cuban Five

    April 11, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  9. lb

    I am always amazed by how quickly Americans forget their history and have failed to learn from it. Please read JFK's 60's advertures with Castro and see that Obama is leading down the road JFK had to fight. Make friends with Cuba and Russia, who by the way is negotiating placing bombers on Cuban soil, and we have learned nothing from our past. I am sure all those who support this have are not courageous enough to wear a US military uniform and whose only concern is their own comfort.

    April 11, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  10. Richard Spudnick

    America first, last and always. And by the way, if you claim to be an american, speak English or get the hell out of my country. Be proud to be an american or leave NOW. This country can only allow one culture at a time. Which one will it be, Cuban, mexican, Chinese,etc. There is room for all if we work together as AMERICAN'S FIRST.

    April 11, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  11. The Party of NO

    Alvino
    LOL- you hit the nail on the head

    April 11, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  12. phoenix87

    The geopoltical ignorance of Bush / Cheney was staggering

    Obama is a breath of fresh air

    April 11, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  13. Silvio

    The US should fix relations with Cuba. Fidel is not really the good guy the congressional black Caucus says he is but maintaining the US embargo is stupid. The only reason for the embargo is the US does not need Cuba (unlike China) and there are right wing Cuban "exiles" that care more about punishing Castro than thinking about the best interests of the US. Having open relations will probably do more to benefit the US and Cuba than this posturing.

    What is really lame and stupid is a lack of attention to Afghanistan, Sudan, Zimbabwe and other global (man made) disasters. Where are the congressional delegations? The US Congress (House and Senate, Republican and Democrat) is worthless. They love publicity but are afraid of dealing with a real problems.

    April 11, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  14. Roland

    And China poisons our pets and their babies and that's OK! We need to take a good hard look at who we have become in this world before we throw anymore stones at our neighbor's. How is it possible that this little island in the middle nowhere is such a threat to us. We are paranoid in this country with a touch of Schizophrenia and this has become apparent to most of the world!

    April 11, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  15. A Canadian

    Americans can't visit Cuba so how did you all become experts?? I have and realize that the propaganda on both sides is based on exaggeration and lies. Provide proof of how modern day Cuba is torturing prisoners now. Over the same period of time you have assassinated a president, his brother, and a civil rights icon and finally recognized the civil rights of your black population.

    America has more prisoners per capita than any other country, also has tortured in the recent past and was behind the Batista dictatorship and mafia rule which caused the revolution in the first place.

    America tortures and holds prisoners without trial on the very same island!! Sounds pretty hypocritical to me.

    April 11, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  16. Jean

    Isolating our enemies only makes them victims (and other countries race to help them) and makes us look short-sighted and domineering and, well bad. "Know thine enemy." We no longer know them. Regardless of the latest difficult to deal with news out of Cuba and Iran, we need to talk with them. With nuclear warheads in the wings in Iran and the threat that recent Russian visits to Cuba might signal a return of weaponry there, we don't have an intelligent choice to avoid misunderstanding. Direct not indirect talks lessen the chances there will be fatal misunderstandings. The world is moving too fast these days with the risk of misunderstanding growing exponentially.

    April 11, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  17. Marry

    Perhaps it would be helpful to read a little bit in the history books about Cuban and US relations over the past 200 years. Then many might see that the Cuban people did not really profit from the US involvement and Castro was a reaction to American politics at the time. Here again, a bit more intelligent thought might have helped a lot. But, thankfully, reasonable thought might just have a chance now! Viva President Obama!

    April 11, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  18. Ken in NC

    Well if we do not like what the Cubans have been doing maybe we should send Rush "Hambaugh" down there to clean out the problem. All he needs is a triple size phone booth to make the change into his super uniform.

    April 11, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
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