|Photo By: U.S. Government Accountability Office / Flickr|
USA believes that an "acoustic attack" via sonic devices has affected numerous State Department employees at the US embassy in Havana, Cuba. In fact, two Cuban diplomats have been expelled for medical reasons.
An official reported that employees could permanently lose their hearing, while the affected employees were not at the same place. However, they presented numerous physical symptoms since late 2016, which could mimic concussions.
In a press briefing, published in UPI , Heather Nauert, spokesman, State Department, said: "Some United States government personnel who were working at our embassy in Havana, Cuba, on official duties have reported some incidents which have caused a variety of physical symptoms. We don't have any definitive answers about the source or the cause of what we consider to be incidents."
The State Department has presented these incidents to the Cuban government over the course of several months and deployed medical personnel to Havana, yet the symptoms' cause and the attack's method are still unknown.
"We don't have any definitive answers about the source or the cause of what we consider to be incidents. It's caused a variety of physical symptoms in these American citizens who work for the US government. We take those incidents very seriously, and there is an investigation currently under way," Nauert said via Reuters.
In addition, Nauert recognized that there is an influx of various sources that came along with various symptoms. Hence, they are exercising caution in their statements since they do not know many things yet.
One State Department official relayed that: "It can be quite serious. We have worked with the Cubans to try and find out what is going on. They insist they don't know, but it has been very worrying and troublesome."
The officials have reported that the FBI is currently investigating the incident.
Washinton and Havana have reestablished their diplomatic relations two years ago after more than 50 years of hostilities by reopening their respective embassies in each other's capitals and creating a new saga of engagement between the two countries, who were once foes during the Cold War.
The allegations against Cuba for using sonic weapons to inflict physical harm on American employees in Havana has emerged at the time when the tension between the two countries was present. Following the Obama Administration's end, Donald Trump, President, has planned to revert the travel restrictions, which his predecessor has loosened.
In CNN, Nauert mentioned that: "The Cuban government has a responsibility and an obligation under the Geneva convention to protect our diplomats so that is part of the reason why this is such a major concern of ours."
"We felt like we needed to respond to the Cubans and remind them of their responsibility under the Vienna convention," an official added. The affected officials were not declared as "persona non-grata," which means, they can return to the USA if the issue has been resolved.
Nauert said that those affected were State Department employees and no American civilians were harmed. In addition, Nauert stated that the State Department is treating these incidents "very seriously" as it works to identify the incidents' cause and impact.
In response to these allegations, the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs has denied any Cuban involvement in the alleged mistreatment of US diplomats in Cuba, and commented that the decision to remove Cuban diplomats was unjustified and unfounded."
In a statement, the foreign ministry said: "Cuba has never, nor would it ever, allow that the Cuban territory be used for any action against accredited diplomatic agents or their families. It reiterates its willingness to cooperate in the clarification of this situation."
Havana has assured that it has commenced a "comprehensive, priority and urgent investigation" after being informed about the embassy informed Havana about these suspected attacks.