Cubans said they were both heartbroken and enraged by the United States’ decision on Friday to stop processing visas at its embassy in Havana that would further tear at the seams of families already divided by the Florida Straits.
The United States said it was cutting its diplomatic presence in Cuba by more than a half because of mysterious “attacks” against its embassy personnel and was therefore halting regular visa operations.
“To think you can’t go see your family is a terrible thing,” said pensioner Xiomara Irene Louzado, 74, who had been planning a visit to the United States to see her sister and nephews.
Louzado said she also wanted to visit the graves of her sister and mother. She has traveled there regularly but now she simply no longer knew when she next could.
“This is unnecessary and inhuman,” said Laura Hernandez, a Cuban student who had been hoping to move to live with her father in the United States.
While Cuba numbers a population of 11.2 million, there are an estimated 2 million Cuban Americans in the United States, Reuters Reported.
US President Donald Trump has expressed anger because of the diplomats' casualties in Cuba.
The partial evacuation, while depicted as a safety measure, sends a message of US displeasure over Cuba’s handling of the matter and delivers another blow to Obama’s policies of engagement with Cold War foe Cuba.
Cuba’s Foreign Ministry chief for U.S. Affairs Josefina Vidal said: “We consider the decision announced today by the U.S. government through the State Department is hasty and will affect bilateral relations.”
Vidal, in a briefing on state-run television, said Cuba was still keen to cooperate with US authorities to clarify what happened, according to Reuters.