Cuba Expels U.S. Diplomat

August 20, 1996

Cuba Expels U.S. Diplomat

A U.S. diplomat stationed in Havana has been ordered to leave Cuba by Aug. 21 after speculation she engaged in activities "incompatible with her diplomatic status," several news sources report.

The United States protested the removal of Robin Meyer, a specialist in human rights issues, by ordering Jose Luis Ponce, the spokesman for the Cuban mission in the United States one week to depart the country. Ponce, who has served 3 years in Washington, was asked to leave because he, too, has engaged in outreach activities.

A State Department spokesman said Meyer carried out her duties in accordance with diplomatic norms.

"During her two years in Cuba, Ms. Meyer has openly met with representatives of human rights and independent professional groups throughout the island, providing moral support and distributing published information," said Glyn Davies, a State Department spokesman.

U.S. officials believe there will be no further expulsions, and stress that the two countries are still able to cooperate in limited areas.

The diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba have been shaky for a number of years. From 1961 through 1977, the countries did not have full diplomatic relations, and only since 1977 have small diplomatic missions to each other's capitals been opened.

Despite rocky relations, expulsions of diplomats have been rare. The last occurred in 1981 when the United States expelled a Cuban diplomat for violating the U.S. economic embargo against Cuba.

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