Headaches, hearing loss, anxiety affecting dozens of government workers near embassies.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Friday that two diplomats will oversee a stepped-up investigation, and treatment plan, of the so-called “Havana Syndrome” cases affecting over one hundred government workers.
“We’ll do everything we can, leaving no stone unturned,” Blinken announced, in an effort to get to the bottom of the mysterious syndrome that surfaced about five years ago among US embassy employees in Cuba.
Victims reported persistent headaches, nausea, hearing loss, depression, and anxiety. Some have been diagnosed with brain trauma.
Since then, it has affected diplomats, spies and government workers, particularly around embassies, in nearly a dozen countries, and various government agencies have been investigating.
At a press conference Blinken said that Ambassador Jonathon Moore will coordinate the State Department’s Response Task Force, to respond quickly to reports of the syndrome, and Ambassador Margaret Uyehara will lead a team that will offer treatment options for victims.
The top diplomat said that “top tier” care will be given to those suffering the effects of the syndrome and he is urging government workers to report their symptoms.
In August, a trip to Vietnam by Vice President Kamala Harris was interrupted by a possible case of “Havana Syndrome” at the US embassy in Hanoi, and more recently, cases of the syndrome were reported by staff members and families at Colombia’s embassy, prior to visit by Blinken. And there has been at least one possible case investigated in Washington D.C.
“We’re working tirelessly,” Blinken said, “to identify what’s causing these incidents and to learn who’s responsible.”