The U.S has given Cuba seven days to remove 15 of its diplomatic staff from its embassy in Washington. The 15 Diplomats represent two-thirds of Cuba's staff working in Washington, according to Cuban ambassador to the US, José Ramón Cabañas. Rex Tillerson has said that the decision to kick out the diplomats was as a result of Cuba's failure to protect US diplomats in Cuba, as per the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic relations. The expulsion of the staff from the US will jeopardize diplomacy between the two countries days after the US ordered most of its embassy staff to leave Cuba.

The US ordered some of its diplomats out of Cuba

The US recalled its non-emergency staff working in the US embassy in Havana on Friday last week. The US also discontinued processing US visa applications in that country. Rex Tillerson in a statement said that "US staff in Havana had been reduced to emergency personnel until the Cuban government ensures that US staff will be safe." The decision by the US comes days after 21 US diplomats in Havana began complaining of hearing losses, dizziness, fatigue, visual and balance problems as well as sleeping difficulties. It is still not clear what caused some of the US staff in Havana to experience these health problems which began in 2016. According to the Associated Press, the health problems may have originated from Cuban hotels.

The AP reported that US diplomats began hearing loud noises as well as felt vibrations while in Cuban hotels. The diplomats also heard blaring sounds in particular hotel rooms.

Relations between the two countries

Obama restores diplomatic ties with Cuba on July 20, 2015, in a process that began on December 17, 2014, when he met the Cuban president, Raul Castro.

Before, US-Cuban relationship had been strained since 1961. Obama also visited Cuba on March 20, 2016, to improve US relations with Cuba. On June 16 this year, Donald Trump announced that he would begin reversing Obama's policies towards Cuba. Tillerson said that the shift in Obama's policies by Trump was as a result of Cuba's failure to improve its human rights record.

The incoming of Trump's administration and the reversal of Obama's policies by Trump will reduce optimism between Cubans and Americans on the future relations between the two countries. The reduction of US staff in Cuba and the expulsion of Cuban diplomats from the US will also hinder social, political and economic ties between the two nations in an ever-uncertain political environment.