United States embassy workers in Cuba hit with 'acoustic attack'

United States embassy workers in Cuba hit with 'acoustic attack'

Investigators are trying to determine whether Cuba "placed sonic devices that produce non-audible sound inside or outside the residences of roughly five U.S. embassy staffers with the intent of deafening them", The Guardian says.

It is thought that the devices were installed close to or inside the residences of diplomats, which are maintained by the Cuban government.

"Some U.S. government personnel working at the embassy in Havana, Cuba, on official duty, working on behalf of the U.S embassy there, have reported some incidents that have caused a variety of physical symptoms", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters.

"We have some Americans who choose to come home as a result of that", said Nauert.

"Because there are a variety of symptoms, there could be a variety of sources", she said. No one we spoke to had ever heard of a device that could do such a thing and without more information, no one felt comfortable addressing the situation from a medical perspective. "There is a lot we still don't know".

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reaffirms that Cuba complies strictly and seriously with its obligations under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 regarding the protection of the integrity of diplomatic agents and the premises of the mission", the ministry added. At the moment, the United States can not blame any individual or country in the incident, she added.

A Cuban wearing a handkerchief with the United States flag in Havana.

According to The Associated Press, the affected Americans were complaining of hearing loss.

She characterized the incidents as non-life threatening, however, there is an FBI and Diplomatic Security Service investigation into what occurred over the past few months.

Relations between the U.S. and Cuba were restored in 2015 after a half-century break by then-president Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro.

Cuba's Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement Wednesday night, saying it was informed of the alleged incidents by the U.S. Embassy in Havana and the U.S. Department of State on February 17.

In June, President Trump announced announced that, "effectively immediately I'm cancelling the last administration's completely one-sided deal with Cuba".

The embassy, however, will remain open, "in the hope that our countries can forge a much stronger and better path", he added.

In response to the incidents, the United States expelled two Cuban diplomats from America in May.

A US government official said several colleagues at the USA embassy in Havana were evacuated back to the United States for hearing problems and other symptoms over the past six months.

The Cuban Foreign Relations Ministry (MINREX) responded to the incident in a statement published in Granma, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC).

Cuba noted it was aware of the allegations and had launched an investigation of its own.

Citing an anonymous government official, CNN reports that the United States is still investigating the possibility this was an attack by a third country that might be trying to harm America's relations with Cuba.

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