Diplomats: Canada Is Hiding 'Havana Syndrome' Cases

They claim personnel are being sent to Havana without knowing the risks
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 29, 2021 11:23 AM CDT
Diplomats: Canada Is Hiding 'Havana Syndrome' Cases
In this April 17, 2018 file photo, a man walks beside Canada's embassy in Havana, Cuba.   (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan, File)

A group of Canadian diplomats says their government is hiding cases of "Havana Syndrome," the mysterious illness affecting Canadian and US personnel in Cuba. In a letter to Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau, nine diplomats who reported strange symptoms say "at least three additional cases were identified in 2019 and 2020," per Global News. But they say the government has shared no information. In its last public update in January 2019, the government said "the last confirmed case of unusual health symptoms" was in 2018. The diplomats say the government cited this line during a February briefing as it revealed plans to increase staff at its Cuban embassy. But "this is not accurate," the diplomats write. They say at least three new cases have been identified since 2018. Some of those people have had workers' compensation claims approved by the government, per NBC News.

"The distortion of information misleads the public and causes significant risk to new personnel being sent to Cuba, as they are not being fully apprised of the risks to which they are exposed," the letter reads, noting that 25 diplomats were evaluated for potential brain injury in March 2020. Workers are being evaluated by experts at Dalhousie University as part of an agreement with the government. But the diplomats say there is no agreement that allows experts to assess brain injury in children. For years, "our children have struggled with headaches, learning problems, visual, hearing and speech impairments, tinnitus and other ailments," they write. Global Affairs Canada says the health of its diplomats and their families "remain a priority." It refused to comment further, citing a lawsuit. (Speculation has surfaced about a possible "energy attack" near the White House.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.