US expels two Cuban diplomats, citing 'influence operations'

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State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said her government requested two members of Cuba’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations to leave [File:The Associated Press]

The United States has ordered the expulsion of two Cuban diplomats and restricted travel of the remaining members of Cuba‘s mission to the United Nations.

In a statement on Thursday, a spokeswoman for the US Department of State said Washington told Havana it “requires the imminent departure” of two members of Cuba’s UN mission “due to their attempts to conduct influence operations against the US”.

“In addition to the required departures, travel within the United States by all members of Cuba’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations will now essentially be restricted to the island of Manhattan,” said Morgan Ortagus. 

In a subsequent post on Twitter, she added: “We take any & all attempts against the National Security of the US seriously.”

The move drew strong condemnation from Cuba.

Bruno Eduardo Rodriguez, Cuba’s foreign minister, “strongly rejected” the expulsion defining the allegations as “gross slander”.