US diplomats’ illness is still a mystery, Cuba says

US diplomats’ illness is still a mystery, Cuba says

HAVANA
US diplomats’ illness is still a mystery, Cuba says

Cuban authorities said on June 10 that they remained baffled by a mystery ailment that has afflicted numerous U.S. diplomats on the island, with the latest case reported last month.

More than 20 U.S. officials posted in Havana have suffered injuries consistent with brain injury, which the U.S. State Department has said could have been the result of a “health attack,” from an unidentified secret weapon, possibly an acoustic or microwave device.

The bulk of cases took place between the end of 2016 and the summer of 2017, with symptoms including hearing loss, cognitive impairment, vertigo, insomnia or vision problems.

Holding Cuba responsible for either carrying out the attacks or failing to protect its officials, the U.S. recalled more than half of its diplomats and expelled 15 Cuban diplomats from Washington, sparking a major diplomatic downturn following the revival of ties in 2015.

“After more than a year of investigation led by specialized agencies and Cuban and U.S. experts, we can confirm that we have no credible hypothesis or scientific explanation that justifies the retaliatory U.S. measures,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.     

The statement said Cuba reaffirmed its desire to “cooperate with the U.S. authorities to clarify the situation.”    

It added that Havana had taken note of the most recent case, reported by the U.S. embassy on May 29, about an employee who was said to have fallen ill as a result of “undefined sounds” at his place of residence.

The U.S. embassy in Beijing issued on June 8 a health alert for its citizens after government employees were evacuated, the second alert in two weeks, sparking fear the case may be linked to events in Cuba.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has set up a task force to oversee the response to the mystery ailments in both countries.

Cuba, US embassy, illness