Statement from the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs

ON May 12, the U.S. mission to the United Nations in New York sent a communication to our mission to that agency informing that seven Cuban diplomats had been engaging in activities beyond their official capacity and considered injurious to the United States.

The note states that unless Cuba can offer information to justify such conduct, it will ask the mission to make the necessary arrangements for the seven officials and their families to leave the country within 48 hours. This is obviously the first phase in an operation to expel our diplomats in New York for no reason whatsoever.

Subsequently, on May 13, the U.S. State Department informed the Cuban Interests Section in Washington of its decision to declare seven diplomats "personae non grata," giving them 10 days to leave the country.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs rejects this new escalation of U.S. government aggression towards our country and our diplomatic representatives in Washington and New York.

With these acts, the U.S. Government is once again demonstrating that it has openly adopted a provocative and meddling course against Cuba.

As our government has repeatedly charged, this arbitrary decision is yet further evidence of a plan against Cuba aimed at sabotaging the migratory agreements, creating a crisis and propitiating a confrontation between the two countries. The expulsion of the Cuban diplomats pursues the objective of provoking an escalation culminating in the closure of both countries' Interests Sections, as has been historically demanded by the anti-Cuban mafia in Miami.

The U.S. government is trying to adversely affect the prestige of Cuban diplomacy, while demonstrating its frustration at the recent defeats it suffered at the Human Rights Commission in Geneva and at the UN Economic and Social Council, when Cuba was newly elected by acclamation as a member of that commission.

Expelling 14 diplomats is an irrational act of revenge on Cuba by the U.S. government. It is a sign of the growing desperation of extremist sectors demanding a hardening of the blockade and fresh aggressions on a people they have been unable to sway after more than 44 years of heroic resistance.

Cuba will not be intimidated by this or any other provocation. Cuba will not renounce the struggle for its independence and sovereignty. Cuba knows that it has right on its side and can count on the unity and determination to fight of its entire people.

Cuba will take the time it needs to respond to this new provocation from the U.S. government.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

May 13, 2003