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Cases of ‘Havana Syndrome’ Reported at U.S. Embassy in Colombia

WASHINGTON — The State Division is investigating new complaints of mind accidents linked to the so-called Havana Syndrome on the U.S. Embassy in Colombia, a senior administration official stated on Tuesday, per week earlier than Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken is scheduled to go to the nation.

It was not clear how many individuals on the embassy in Bogotá, the Colombian capital, may need been stricken by the mysterious sickness and its signs of complications, nausea, dizziness and reminiscence loss. The State Division’s spokesman, Ned Value, stated officers would be certain that staff “get the immediate care they want, in no matter kind that takes,” however he didn’t describe the complaints in Colombia throughout a briefing in Washington.

The senior administration official confirmed the complaints, which have been reported earlier by The Wall Street Journal, and stated that it appeared that not less than two embassy staff had reported the signs.

President Iván Duque of Colombia stated his nation was conscious of the experiences. In an interview with The New York Instances on Tuesday, Mr. Duque stated whereas the USA was taking the lead, Colombia’s intelligence service was additionally investigating.

Greater than 200 U.S. authorities officers — spies, diplomats, army troops and others — have been stricken by the sickness over the previous 5 years in diplomatic missions in a number of nations, together with Cuba. Experiences of an outbreak in Hanoi, Vietnam, delayed Vice President Kamala Harris’s visit in August by a number of hours.

Although the origins of Havana Syndrome stay unknown, its signs are just like these brought on by surveillance tools utilized by Russia in the course of the Chilly Conflict. As just lately as this summer time, nonetheless, U.S. intelligence officers have been struggling to seek out proof that the situation was a results of microwave assaults by Russian brokers — a theory put forward in a study by the Nationwide Academy of Sciences in December.

Greater than half the victims have been C.I.A. staff, and Congress has approved more support for U.S. officers who’ve been affected by the sickness. Final month, the Home Intelligence Committee additionally demanded extra assets to assist discover the reason for the sicknesses and to assessment the C.I.A.’s dealing with of circumstances.

The Nationwide Safety Council and the State Division have created process forces to analyze the reported accidents, which have been a high concern for Mr. Blinken even earlier than he took workplace. He isn’t anticipated to cancel or delay his journey to Colombia, throughout which he’s more likely to tackle the problem of migrants and the political and humanitarian disaster in neighboring Venezuela.

Mr. Value stated the State Division had sought to be extra open with staff about reported assaults at diplomatic posts, aggressively tried to establish their trigger and supplied care to individuals who complained of signs.

“Now we have taken a variety of steps, together with by way of communication, by way of care, by way of detection, by way of safety for our work drive,” he stated. “And that’s one thing that may proceed to be a precedence for the secretary.”

Julian E. Barnes contributed reporting.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/12/us/politics/havana-syndrome-colombia.html | Instances of ‘Havana Syndrome’ Reported at U.S. Embassy in Colombia

Aila Slisco

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