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Cubans In South Florida Have Questions About Visa Suspensions

Miami Herald
The U.S. Embassy in Cuba is undergoing an investigation after several officials developed illness from what appears to be "acoustic attacks."

President Donald Trump announced on Friday that all visas for Cuban people would be suspended indefinitely. This action followed what appeared to be attacks on U.S. Embassy officials in Havana, Cuba.

The first mysterious sign of an attack came in November 2016 when 16 U.S. Embassy officials reported hearing loss, dizziness and headaches. The reports as of late-September 2017 rose to 21, as officials and their spouses have reported illness - some with permanent damage.

South Florida is home to many Cuban-Americans who've taken advantage of the visa programs suspended by President Trump. The primary reason for applying for these travel visas is to see family.

Maria Hurtado is a Cuban-American who has applied several times. With every birth, celebration or death, her family has been able to reunite in Miami through the Cuban Family Reunification Program.

She wonders why the U.S. government is reacting now. Investigations began after the first group of reports, but President Trump’s suspension of visas makes her question the move.

“The Cuban government can’t be trusted, and after almost a year of recorded injuries, why is the U.S. taking action now? I don’t know who to believe. I don’t think the whole truth is available right now,” Hurtado said.

Like many Cuban-Americans, Hurtado fled  Cuba during the Castro regime. She thinks information is being withheld - by either government - and she's hurt that the Cuban people have to suffer the consequences.

Suspending all visas, including the Cuban Family Reunification Program, leaves both the Cuban people and U.S. citizens wanting more answers.

“It’s an extreme. I can understand if the U.S. government stopped random visitation, but suspending programs [like the Cuban Family Reunification Program], I don’t understand. Families will continue to have to pay the consequences of the government’s actions,” Hurtado said.

Details of the suspension have not yet been released, leaving those with already granted access to the U.S. worried that they may not be able to return until the mysterious attacks are solved.

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