Saturday, September 25

What is the ‘Havana syndrome’?

Last Tuesday, August 24, the vice president of the US government, Kamala Harris, arrived in Vietnam, one of the scheduled destinations on her trip through Southeast Asia, up to three hours late. The reason, according to the authorities, is a possible case of the ‘Havana syndrome’, a strange ailment that the diplomatic and intelligence personnel of the United States have suffered since 2016. But, what does this mysterious syndrome consist of and what is it? provokes? At the end of 2016, staff working at the US embassy in Havana, the capital of Cuba, began to show rare “chronic and debilitating” symptoms, including vision problems, vertigo and poor concentration. Most of those affected claimed to hear a loud buzzing in the head and to feel pain in the ears. Years later, employees of the United States consulate in Guangzhou, China, and some workers of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Russia began to show similar symptoms. This strange evil began to be known as ‘Havana syndrome’, because of the place where it began to manifest itself. In 2020, the National Academy of Sciences of the United States published the results of a report, prepared by 19 experts, that analyzed the possible causes of this ‘attack’ that American government workers were suffering abroad. The document asserted that the “most plausible mechanism” causing the syndrome, based on the evidence, is a “targeted” radio frequency “pulse.” However, other secondary factors have not been ruled out, which could have influenced the symptoms, according to the newspaper “The New York Times” reported at the time. Thus, the report claimed that the variability of the incidents, which seemed to affect people in different ways, left open the possible influence of “psychological and social factors.” And he said some of the victims may be experiencing a condition called “persistent postural-perceptual dizziness,” a nervous system disorder that produces a prolonged feeling of vertigo or instability. Who’s behind? The report did not want to name any culprit. However, in 2018, US intelligence agencies targeted Russia. Currently it is not known who is behind these possible attacks or if they are true or not. Thus, the Committee in charge of preparing the report that explained its causes has undertaken to study new cases, such as the one that possibly occurred on the Kamala Harris flight to Vietnam.