Miami Herald: U.S. officials say American diplomats in Havana face more harassment
There are increasing reports of incidents against U.S. diplomats as the Cuban government cracks down on dissidents
By Juan O. Tamayo jtamayo@ElNuevoHerald.com
Cuban government agents have stepped up their verbal harassment of U.S. diplomats in Havana in the past year, shouting epithets at them from moving cars and publishing photos of their vehicles, U.S. government officials say.
“They’ve done this for quite some time, but over the last year or so they seem to have gotten nastier,” said one of the officials. “We have asked them to stop, and they have not.”
The increased badgering appears linked to Cuban President Raúl Castro’s ongoing crackdown on government critics, the officials said. About 4,115 short-term arrests of dissidents were reported in 2011, compared to 1,765 the previous year.
With some U.S. diplomats in Havana specifically assigned to monitor opposition activities, said one official, “when the security forces go after dissidents, (the U.S. diplomats) are usually in the neighborhood and catch the flak too.”