January 21, 2018

Canadian diplomat in Cuba treated for headaches, hearing loss

11 August 2017, 12:40 | Kara Nash

Report: US expels Cuban diplomats after American personnel in Cuba report 'physical symptoms'

US government personnel in Havana report

The State Department says it has reminded the Cuban government of its obligations under the Vienna Convention to protect US diplomats and says it's taking these incidents "very seriously" and is "working to determine the cause and impact of the incidents".

The AP said at least one of the diplomatic personnel reported hearing loss.

Cuba denies the allegation, but the United States has removed two Cuban diplomats from Washington DC in retaliation.

It has been suggested that covert sonic devices which emit inaudible sound waves may have been placed either inside or outside the diplomats residences in the Cuban capital. Like virtually all foreign diplomats in Cuba, the victims of the incidents lived in housing owned and maintained by the Cuban government.

Cuba has reacted to the expulsion of two of its diplomats based in Washington by promising an investigation into allegations that some unspecified "incidents" have caused physical symptoms in Americans serving at the U.S. Embassy in Havana.

She added: "We had to bring some Americans home or some Americans chose to come home as a result of that".

However, the Associated Press, citing unnamed sources, reported Wednesday that the symptoms included hearing loss, which in some cases is believed to be permanent. "That is why we are being very careful here with what we say. We don't know exactly what".

"The Cuban government has been harassing U.S. personnel working in Havana for decades", he said.

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Towards the end of previous year, United States diplomats began to suffer mysterious hearing loss, according to investigators.

An investigation to find out what happened is now underway by the FBI and Diplomatic Security Service.

In 2015, President Barack Obama reopened the American embassy in Cuba in an attempt to improve diplomatic relations with the country.

More incidents reportedly followed, which led American diplomats to leave Cuba.

In June, Trump announced that he was "canceling the last administration's completely one-sided deal with Cuba".

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

The FBI is now conducting further investigations into the reported incidents, and the State Department is prepared to take further action against the Cuban government if any evidence points in their direction. The Cuban government, Nauert said, has a "responsibility and an obligation under the Geneva Convention to protect our diplomats". Cuba's foreign ministry said that in February it launched an "urgent investigation at the behest of the highest level of the Cuban government" into the incidents, adding that the country would never allow actions against diplomats and their families on its soil.

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