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Canadian diplomats say Ottawa mistakenly treated the crisis of “Havana Syndrome” as a fall illness for nearly 20 years.

After finishing the stint in Cuba, nearly 20 Canadian diplomats complained of severe headaches, visual problems and nausea. They claim that the government has failed them and others who are still ill with the mysterious “Havana Syndrome.”

Officially, Canadian authorities are aware of only 14 cases of unexplained inferiority, last recorded in December 2018.

However, affected diplomats who have complained that it took too long to evacuate the government and provide treatment in Ottawa said the number is approaching and increasing.

Paul Miller, a Toronto lawyer representing 18 Canadian diplomats claiming more than $ 28 million in damages and interest, continues to receive calls from alleged victims. I told AFP that I was there. “There are some very recent cases since 2021,” he said.

A source close to the incident told AFP that there were just two reports of diplomats this year who were forced to end their mission tour in Havana earlier than planned after experiencing symptoms.

A mysterious case of distress called “Havana Syndrome” in the media first appeared in Cuba in 2016.

US and Canadian diplomats (some diplomats claimed to have heard a very high pitch) began complaining of migraines, dizziness, and nausea.

In some, brain lesions were diagnosed.

Cases were subsequently reported among diplomats working in Australia, Austria, China, Colombia, Germany, Russia and even Washington.

“Strange vibration”

A former Canadian diplomat who lived in Cuba for four years said he woke up one morning in 2017, suffering from dizziness and “bad nosebleeds.”

“I haven’t had a nosebleed since I was a kid,” the woman told AFP on condition of anonymity.

She said her symptoms got worse.

Just a few weeks after arriving in Havana in 2017, another said, “I started feeling strange vibrations in my ears at the same time every night,” and noticed a previously perfect loss of vision. ..

“I had never worn glasses and had no visual problems. I have had to wear greenish glasses as much as possible since Cuba. Still, my eyes are sometimes blurred,” she said. ..

“Group hysteria”

Several hypotheses have been put forward to explain the symptoms — from electronic weapons that US rivals such as Russia may use to mass hysteria triggered by the effects of stress and pesticides.

There was no definitive conclusion, and Cuban authorities deny the existence of the syndrome.

In September, a panel of 16 experts convened by the Communist government in Havana released a report stating that the claim was “scientifically unacceptable.”

“Neither the Cuban police nor the FBI nor the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have found evidence of an’attack’on Havana’s diplomats, despite a thorough investigation,” he said.

In Washington, the case is far from over.

Last month, Secretary of State Antony Blinken promised to be “underlying” the problem, coordinating the response, and having two veteran envoys to ensure that those who report symptoms receive appropriate medical care. Appointed.

No help

Suffering Canadian diplomats say their complaints are not treated with the same level of urgency.

“I think our biggest complaint is that we weren’t provided with any kind of assistance,” one said.

Another said he was instructed not to tell anyone, even medical personnel, about his health concerns. I think they prioritized their relationship with Cuba over their people. “

Cuba’s relationship with the United States is notorious for being tense, except for short-term detention from 2014 to 2016, but its relationship with Canada is warm.

Ottawa has historically been the main source of tourists to the island, having not broken ties since the Fidel Castro-led revolution in 1959.

Miller agreed that the treatment of estimated American and Canadian victims was “very different.”

“Here (Ottawa), the government says:” We will do everything to take care of diplomats. “They do not. “

In a written response to the AFP, the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs “takes Canadian health, safety and security very seriously” and “continues to monitor the health and safety of diplomatic staff stationed in Havana.” I am. “

In January 2019, Canada announced that it had cut embassy staff by about half as a result of unexplained symptoms, but has since begun to increase numbers and will soon return to full staff.

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Canadian diplomats say Ottawa mistakenly treated the crisis of “Havana Syndrome” as a fall illness for nearly 20 years.

Source link Canadian diplomats say Ottawa mistakenly treated the crisis of “Havana Syndrome” as a fall illness for nearly 20 years.

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