Havana syndrome hits officials in the U.S. Embassy in Colombia

On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that at least five families who have connections to the U.S. Embassy in Colombia, have been affected by strange neurological symptoms, which are termed as the Havana syndrome as they were first noticed in Cuba, several years ago. People familiar with the matter told the WSJ about this latest attack, about a week before Secretary of State Anthony J. Blinken is scheduled to visit the country.

The WSJ reviewed emails sent to embassy personnel by ambassador Philip Goldberg. The state department said that it would look into the matter “seriously, with objectivity and with sensitivity.” The Bogota embassy is one of the most important as well as is one largest outposts of the nation. The exact number of people, who have been affected by symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness and memory loss that are typical of the Havana syndrome, is unknown.

In a briefing in Washington, Ned Price, the spokesman of the State Department said that officials would make sure that employees would “get the prompt care they need, in whatever form that takes.” However, the spokesman did not give additional information about the complaints.

On Tuesday, in an interview with the New York Times, Ivan Duque, the President of Colombia said that the U.S. was taking the lead on the investigation. He also said that there was an ongoing investigation by the country’s intelligence service.

The Havana syndrome had reportedly affected more than 200 U.S. government officials in countries such as Cuba in 2016 and recently in August in Vietnam when Vice President Harris trip was delayed to facilitate a medical evacuation . People including spies, military officers, diplomats and others have been affected. More than 50 percent of those who have been affected have been C.I.A. staff.

The Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to visit Columbia as scheduled. He could address several pressing issues including immigration as well as the political and humanitarian problems that are besetting its neighbor Venezuela.


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