President Barack Obama‚Äôs much-hyped restoration of relations with Cuba was a bet that diplomatic and economic engagement would, over time, accomplish what 50 years of boycott did not: a rebirth of political freedom on the island. So far, the results have been dismal. In the two years since the U.S. Embassy in Havana reopened, repression of Cubans - measured in detentions, beatings and political prisoners - has significantly increased, while the private sector has remained stagnant. U.S. exports to Cuba have actually decreased, even as the cash-starved regime of Ra√ļl Castro pockets millions of dollars paid by Americans in visa fees and charges at state-run hotels.
Now there‚Äôs another sinister cost to tally - the serious injuries inflicted on the U.S. diplomats dispatched to Havana.
At least 16 American diplomats and family members received medical treatment resulting from sonic attacks directed at the residences where they were required to live by the Cuban government. A number of Canadian diplomats were also affected.
CBS News reported that a doctor who evaluated the American and Canadian victims found conditions including mild traumatic brain injury, ‚Äúwith likely damage to the central nervous system.‚ÄĚ
The State Department is saying that it has not identified the source of the attacks, though it is holding the Cuban government responsible
The sonic attacks would be in keeping with, if an escalation of, harassment that U.S. diplomats have long suffered in Havana, .
The administration appears to be giving the Castro regime the benefit of the doubt - which, considering its overall record since the restoration of relations, may be more than it deserves.