Cuban President Raul Castro gave his condolences to the United States following a massacre in Orlando, Florida on Sunday. A statement was provided to a news channel that operates on Cuban State Television.
The statement read, “I reiterate that Cuba rejects and condemns all acts of terrorism.”
Cuban and United States relations have been in turmoil since 1962 when United States President Kennedy signed into law a Cuban embargo. The embargo effectively cut the country of Cuba from the United States.
Efforts to end the embargo reached its heights on March 21, 2016 when United States President Barack Obama and Cuba’s Raul Castro shook hands in Havana. Obama requested that the United States Congress lift the embargo on Cuba after being in place for over 50 years.
Castro’s condolences come at a time when both countries continue to cooperate with each other after over 50 years of strife.
The Orlando, Florida massacre left 49 people dead and over 50 people injured following a shooting at the LGBT nightclub Pulse. The attack came early on Sunday morning before the club was closing for the night.
The attacker, Omar Mateen, was a 29-year old male who was born in New York and grew up in Long Island. The shooter reportedly called 911 before the shooting to pledge his allegiance to the extremist group ISIS. The massacre ended with Mateen exchanging gunfire with officers and members of the SWAT team.
Mateen was of Muslim faith and pledged his alliance to many extremist groups. The shooter reportedly visited the LGBT nightclub often and was considered a regular. Mateen was married with a child. Recent findings point to the shooter using gay dating apps and sending private pictures to men.
Castro’s statement gave condolences to the United States government and the people following the attacks, but he emphasized his condolences to the friends and family of the victims.
A laser weapon may sound like something out of a science fiction novel, but the U.S. has developed a directed-energy weapon that brings the future to present day. No, this is nothing like your dinky little at home laser hair removal device. This is a serious weapon, and its precision is stunning.
Known as the AN/SEQ-3 Laser Weapon System, or XN-1 LaWS for short, this weapon was developed in 2010 by the United States Navy. In 2014, it was installed on the USS Ponce to carry out field tests. In December of that year, the U.S. Navy announced that laser weapon system worked perfectly, and the Ponce’s commander was authorized to use the XN-1 LaWS as a defensive weapon.
The XN-1 LaWS was designed to be a ship-defense system, and thus far, it has only publicly engaged in simulated attacks from a small boat and a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) drone.
The LaWS features scalable power levels. On low power, it can be used to dazzle a person’s eyes, causing them to turn away from a threatening posture. On high power (30 thousand watts), the laser has the power to burn out motors, fry sensors and even detonate explosive materials.
Against a helicopter, this laser can burn through vital components, causing it to fall and crash.
Kratos Defense & Security Solutions won the $11 million contract to develop the system in 2010 as part of a U.S. Navy program. The Navy spent $40 million on the research, development and testing of this system over six years.
If testing goes well, the Navy may deploy a laser weapon with a one-mile range sometime between 2017 and 2021.
Directed-energy weapons are highly sought due to their economic benefits. An LaWS can be fired for little more than a dollar per shot, whereas conventional projectiles can cost thousands of dollars each.