>> President Donald Trump expelling 15 Cuban diplomats from the United States Tuesday, in an escalating rift over a wave of mysterious ailments hitting American Embassy staff in Havana. The move by Trump, coming after at least 21 American diplomats and family members experienced a range of symptoms from hearing loss to cognitive issues, in what officials have characterized as, quote, sonic attacks.
Cuba flatly denies any role, but the incidents sending a chill through US-Cuban relations. Max Botalnik has the story.>> The Cuban government, US government, even the Canadian government are conducting investigations. And no one has yet come up with a sound explanation for what has caused these attacks. There are some who say it might be some kind of surveillance device using sonic waves that has thereby affected people's hearings.
The finger has been pointed possibly at the rogue elements of the Cuban security forces. Others say it could be Cuban exiles, who are looking to besmirch the reputation of the Cuban government. And others beyond those have said that it could even be a third party, such as Russia or Venezuela, that are carrying out these attacks.
>> Trump last week pulling roughly 60% of US staff from the Cuban capital, saying Cuba had not done enough to protect American personnel.>> The US is being very careful to say it is not assigning blame to the Cuban government for what has happened to its diplomats. What it is saying is that Cuba has not done enough to protect American personnel on their soil.
And that these diplomats will not be returned, though Cuba has shown that it is willing and able to do so.>> The step's a further blow to former President Barack Obama's efforts to thaw relations with the long-time US foe. One of the major initiatives of his second term that included the reopening of embassies and easing of travel restrictions.
Last month, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the US is thinking of shutting down the US Embassy in Havana, but for now, both embassies remain open.