Canadian diplomat in Cuba treated for headaches, hearing loss

Saul Bowman
August 11, 2017

The government of Cuba has denied any wrongdoing after facing charges from Washington that US embassy staff in Havana fell ill with unspecified symptoms while working in the country, resulting in their departure from the Caribbean nation.

"It is a cause of great concern for us", she said.

The allegations of Cuba using sonic weapons to induce physical harm on American employees in Havana comes at a time of tension between the two countries.

USA officials, speaking to the agency anonymously, said investigations had determined devices had been deployed either inside or outside diplomats' homes.

A group of American diplomats working in Havana were left with severe hearing loss due to a covert sonic device, U.S. officials have claimed.

Personal harm to US officials shows the extent the Castro regime will go and clearly violates global norms. The mysterious incidents led to the United States expelling two Cuba officials from their Washington, D.C. embassy.

In response to the incidents, the United States expelled two Cuban diplomats from America in May.

The statement from the Cuban Foreign Ministry said it had been informed of the incidents on February 17 and had launched an "exhaustive, high-priority, urgent investigation at the behest of the highest level of the Cuban government".

Citing an anonymous government official, CNN reports that the U.S. is still investigating the possibility this was an attack by a third country that might be trying to harm America's relations with Cuba.

A spokesperson for the State Department's Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs says the department does not have "definitive answers on the source or cause of the incidents".

The Cuban Foreign Ministry said Wednesday it had started an "exhaustive" investigation into the freakish incidents which the United States said had caused physical symptoms in its diplomats serving here. American diplomats operating in Cuba are known to be subject to surveillance and harassment, but the latest revelation is a substantial escalation.

About five diplomats, including some spouses, had been affected, but no children were involved, United States officials said. "What I can tell you is these were us government personnel who were in Cuba in Havana on official duty".

The FBI and the U.S. Diplomatic Security Service are involved in the investigation. However, things change when on April 13, 2015, President Barack Obama announced that he would lift some longstanding restrictions placed on Cuba, allowing Cuban Americans to visit and send remittances to their families and easing - but not removing - the 47-year-old economic embargo on the island nation. Security has since been increased around the US embassy and diplomatic homes in Havana.

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