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

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

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/04/08/cuba.travel/art.fidelsign.cnn.jpg caption="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. Alan

    Poisoning pets? That's where I draw the line . . .

    April 10, 2009 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  2. Jase from the BX

    I hate to say this and it probably won't get posted but the fact is these countries Cuba, Venezuela, Iran whatever treat visiting black delegations well, whether its the congressional black caucuses, or Jesse Jackson and the Iranians, or Chavez sending oil to black people in America it does not surprise me. Americans need to realize these countries don't hate black people, black people are not the ones who give them grief. They see black people as friends who are suffering like them from discrimination. Americans love to mistreat people then wonder why they are mad. We have had an embargo against Cuba for 50 years and what has it gained us? Here is the fact, these rest of the world has diplomatic relations with Cuba. Not the lie the press tells us that the rest of the world like has cut ties with Cuba. Cuba is one of the most visited islands in the Caribbean. Its the world's playground; we are the only ones who are prohibited. Look it up. Maybe if as a country we stopped discriminating and mistreating people we would not have so many enemies.

    April 10, 2009 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  3. avidyananda

    I hear that they don't treat their own citizens very well, either. But Fidel and Raul seem to be living real well.

    April 10, 2009 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  4. cj

    Yeah we should just jump right into bed with them. They really arent that bad, nothing wrong with whats gone on i Cuba for the last 50 years. Go Obama. Lib losers. Vote libertarian in 12 real "change"

    April 10, 2009 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  5. Flipper

    But I thought Cuba was perfect?

    April 10, 2009 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  6. Mike Smith

    This "interests section", are they the ones with the giant neon sign telling Cubans to overthrow their government? Why would Cuba treat them as hostiles?

    April 10, 2009 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  7. mike,texas

    We sold out our economy to China and company yet we boycott Cuba our neighbor.Obama is a true leader.Change is all the world needs.

    April 10, 2009 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  8. Jim

    Why are we pandering to Socialist ? Did I miss something over the last week or two....Have people begun swimming back to Cuba ? if you disagree with Castro you will be taken out back and shot, hanged or beaten to death. He killed thousands that did not agree with his way. THey have no human rights to speak of. Im all for relaxing restrictions with Cuba as long as Tweedle deee and Tweedle dum are for giving there citizens basic human rights. Otherwise we are condening the actions of these tyrants ! But with this administration I guess we arent reaching out to those who are striving for democracy..........We are reaching out to the TYRANTS of this world...Lets all have a big hug and make it all go away ! LOL !

    April 10, 2009 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  9. jim carroll internetfreepress.com

    HOW CAN THE INTELLIGENTSIA OF AMERICA BE SO BLINDED that they cannot see that the Federal Government must have a money system that can create and maintain an equivalent ratio of money to the goods and services that its peoples’ hands and minds can produce? Nature’s Basic Law of Economics states: All goods and services flow from the action of people resources on natural resources— Money is the medium of exchange which should be equal to the value of the goods and services—and not to a gold standard or some other insane idea. Go to the internetfreepress and
    find real solutions to problems.

    April 10, 2009 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  10. Max Kendall

    sounds like some hard-liner still hates cuban

    April 11, 2009 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  11. Calixto Sanchez

    wow! it will raise the eyebrowses of many liberals.
    punishing humans if fine, but pets!!

    April 11, 2009 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  12. Palmero73

    As long as we have other individuals "Cuban Americans" who try and influence the view of many Americans toward Cuba, we will always be ignorant on the true life of what they call a regime in Cuba. Lets be a bit more open minded and view it as Real Americans, and not as CUBAN american. When you are in this country "USA", and born here Country & Pride 1st.

    April 11, 2009 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  13. Michael in Houston

    Nice try. Funny that this report is released now. Why was this kept from the American people, if it is true. And you wonder why we the people distrust government so much. Either they lie to us or fabricate stories to push their agenda's

    April 11, 2009 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  14. JonDie

    "It repeatedly mentions poor morale among U.S. diplomats serving in Cuba, saying the Cuban government 'lets you know it's hostile.' "

    Of course they're hostile...because we're hostile. Why is CNN leading this attempt to stop the thaw in US-Cuban relations? Even extreme right-wingers like Pat Buchanan support a change.

    April 11, 2009 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  15. Minnesotan

    Poisoning family pets? This sounds like some ridiculous right-wing statement meant to stir emotional responses from the sheep in their party.

    April 11, 2009 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  16. Ted van Tol

    Open up the gates and leave Cuba to the Cubans.
    Anothere enemy is history and Cuba can start to
    become a democratic country. Give the people some
    support, In the end they will win and not the politic leaders.
    Fear politics must be over.

    Viva Obama!

    April 11, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  17. Joe Madden

    This is nonsense. This report was probably written by another Republican. If we placed embargos and made life difficult for the Cubans, then why in the hell were we over there trying to overthrow their government. One could easily see why there existed this displeasure for our presence there.

    April 11, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  18. Paul H

    Castro the great survivor. Like being invited in by an old friend.
    These guys are proving they will kiss anyone's butt! As they lead we have to follow. I hope you like the direction we are going, because at this point it's sure a lotta laughs.

    April 11, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  19. Wendy Wasp

    This does not surprise me. I dated one of the 1st. Cuban refugees in the 1960's & I've never forgotten the things he told me. As long as Fidel is alive, things WILL NOT change. Raoul is another story ( which we don't know for sure yet.) And btw, just what the devil was the black caucus doing in Cuban anyway? With 9 Presidents of all different ilk having refused "offical" diplomatic relations with Cuba, what makes Obama so special? Also, we have diplomatic "interests" offices in countries we don't offically have diplomatic relations with as a place Americans can go for help; they take the place of Embassies. Viva Cuba! NOT Fidel!

    April 11, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  20. Ulysses

    No different than what the Chinese and Russians are doing to us and we are trading with them. Why the double standard? Why is the USA allowing the hardline Cubans in Miami to define US foreign policy? I'm a Cuban-American and I want the embargo to be over! Trade with Cuba like there is no tomorrow. Make sure the Castro brothers pay their bills though.

    April 11, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  21. alvino

    Several years ago, at Notre Dame, they killed the football coach's family pet and threatened to do the same with him. Maybe we need to put Notre Dame on our restricted travel list.

    April 11, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  22. alvino

    A republican story: The right wing nuts met with the big wheels at Fox News. "This is quite a list of charges you have: no birth certificate, muslim, celebrity, chosen one, messiah, socialist, communist, fascist, empty suit, hasn't done anything, done too much, closed Gitmo, stopped torture, eliminated black cells, uses diplomacy, bowed down to a king, and the list goes on," said the Fox spokesperson. "What do you want us to do?"

    "Crucify him and release Cheney. Spend Rupert's fortune to make the president's life miserable," yelled the wingnuts.

    "Consider it done," said Fox.

    The wing nuts slithered away knowing they had solidified their place in history.

    April 11, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  23. kalle

    why don't you grow up and finally get over the differences... lift the embargo and start acting like a mature nation. usa must realise the possibilities dealing with the country 1 hour from miami. and if you continue the talk about cuba's human rights issues, remember usa just took a lot money from china, one of the countries violating every human right with tibetans and their own citizens there is. obama c'mon!

    April 11, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  24. Panther1

    Yeah, and there were WMDs in Iraq. This sounds like complete nonsense.

    April 11, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  25. Allen, Hartwell GA

    Is this just government slowness, or should anyone think it strange that this report languished for about 2 years in the State Dept. before finally seeing the light of day?

    April 11, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
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