The US government is investigating new cases of brain damage to officials posted in Colombia linked to the mysterious “Havana syndrome”, a week after the Secretary of State, Antony Blink, visit the country.
This syndrome, whose causes are unknown, presents symptoms such as headache, nausea, dizziness and amnesia. State Department spokesman Ned Price said officials “will receive the medical care they need immediately.”
In the past five years, more than 200 US diplomats, intelligence agents and uniforms have reported similar symptoms in various countries around the world, including Cuba and Austria. An alleged outbreak in Vietnam altered the agenda of an official trip to that country from Vice President Kamala Harris. The Capitol has approved aid for those affected, half of whom are CIA agents.
The US National Academy of Sciences, which does not depend on the government, said a year ago in a report that it is possible that these are attacks with electromagnetic waves by radio frequency similar to those that Russia tested during the Cold War.
However, in 2019 two scientists analyzed the sounds captured in Havana during the attacks, which were recorded and came to the conclusion that could be crickets. Fernando Montealegre-Zapata, from the British University of Lincoln, and Alexander Stubbs, from the University of California at Berkeley, said that “the recordings show a drop in frequency in individual beats, something characteristic of the sound production of crickets.” The US government has not accepted that explanation..
The cases in Colombia occur prior to Blinken’s visit, whose priority is to address the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. This week he visited Washington the Colombian president, Iván Duque, but he has not had a bilateral meeting at the White House.
This ailment is called “Havana syndrome” because the first cases were detected at the US embassy in Cuba in 2016. Some 40 US and Canadian officials complained of dizziness, headache and difficulty concentrating.