US says 'Havana Syndrome' not caused by foreign adversaries

Intelligence investigation says 'very unlikely' that governments were behind ailments affecting diplomats

The US embassy in Havana, Cuba. Reuters
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An extensive US intelligence community investigation has concluded it was “very unlikely” a foreign adversary was responsible for the “Havana Syndrome” ailments that have afflicted US diplomats and intelligence officers worldwide, declassified findings released on Wednesday showed.

The mysterious ailment, first reported among US officials in the Cuban capital in 2016, has affected US diplomats, officials and family members overseas. Symptoms have included migraines, nausea, memory lapses and dizziness.

The US intelligence assessment found no credible evidence that any American adversary had a weapon or device capable of causing symptoms consistent with the syndrome.

As part of the investigation, which lasted more than six years, US intelligence agencies considered the possibility that extraterrestrials were responsible for Havana Syndrome but ruled that out, a US official said in a briefing to reporters.

In January, a CIA official said the agency found it was unlikely that Russia or another “foreign actor” caused most of the anomalous health incidents.

That official, describing the conclusions of an interim report on Havana Syndrome, said a majority of 1,000 cases “can be reasonably explained by medical conditions or environmental and technical factors, including previously undiagnosed illnesses”.

What is Havana Syndrome?

Exterior view of the United States embassy, in Havana, Cuba, 05 October 2021.  Thousands of Cubans demanded on social networks the reopening of consular services at the United States Embassy in Havana, paralyzed in 2017 by then-US President Donald Trump.  It all started early in the day, when more than a dozen Cubans personally went to the North American legation in Havana to denounce that their procedures have been in limbo for four years and they have not been able to meet with their relatives in the United States.   EPA / ERNESTO MASTRACUSA
Updated: March 01, 2023, 7:53 PM