By Tamsin Brown • 28 November 2021 • 10:01
More than 200 American diplomats and their family members in different countries have suffered serious brain damage and other symptoms, known as Havana Syndrome, further straining relations between the United States and Russia.
American President Joe Biden has promised to find the cause of the illness and those responsible. Last October 8, the United States Congress and Biden created a new law that grants the directors of the CIA and the Department of State the right to provide U.S. government employees with financial compensation if they have been affected by what is known as Havana Syndrome.
The strange syndrome takes its name from where the first known case took place, at the Unites States Embassy in Havana, Cuba. At least 16 people suffered symptoms and required medical treatment following a possible sonic attack, according to the Department of State.
The origin of the mysterious “attacks” remains unknown, although some experts believe that radiofrequency radiation could have been used. Cuba has denied being behind any attacks on foreign diplomats and claims to be investigating the accusations.
Although the first cases were detected in Cuba in 2016 and 2017, there have been similar incidents in China, Austria, Germany and even in Washington. The last known case was in Colombia.
Relations between the United States and Russia are tense. On a recent visit to Moscow, the head of the CIA, William J. Burns, warned Russian intelligence services that they will “face consequences” if they are behind Havana Syndrome. Although the warning is not a formal accusation, it does suggest that the United States may suspect the involvement of the Russian secret services.
Russia has firmly denied all involvement.
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Originally from London, Tamsin is based in Malaga and is a local reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering Spanish and international news.
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