Circumstances of ‘Havana Syndrome’ Reported at U.S. Embassy in Colombia



WASHINGTON — The State Division is investigating new complaints of mind accidents linked to the so-called Havana Syndrome on the U.S. Embassy in Colombia, a senior administration official mentioned on Tuesday, per week earlier than Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken is scheduled to go to the nation.

It was not clear how many individuals on the embassy in Bogotá, the Colombian capital, may need been troubled by the mysterious sickness and its signs of complications, nausea, dizziness and reminiscence loss. The State Division’s spokesman, Ned Value, mentioned officers would be sure that workers “get the immediate care they want, in no matter kind that takes,” however he didn’t describe the complaints in Colombia throughout a briefing in Washington.

The senior administration official confirmed the complaints, which had been reported earlier by The Wall Street Journal, and mentioned that it appeared that a minimum of two embassy workers had reported the signs.

President Iván Duque of Colombia mentioned his nation was conscious of the reviews. In an interview with The New York Occasions on Tuesday, Mr. Duque mentioned whereas the US was taking the lead, Colombia’s intelligence service was additionally investigating.

Greater than 200 U.S. authorities officers — spies, diplomats, army troops and others — have been troubled by the sickness over the previous 5 years in diplomatic missions in a number of nations, together with Cuba. Experiences of an outbreak in Hanoi, Vietnam, delayed Vice President Kamala Harris’s visit in August by just a few hours.

Although the origins of Havana Syndrome stay unknown, its signs are just like these brought on by surveillance gear utilized by Russia throughout the Chilly Battle. As lately as this summer time, nevertheless, U.S. intelligence officers had been struggling to search out proof that the situation was a results of microwave assaults by Russian brokers — a theory put forward in a study by the Nationwide Academy of Sciences in December.

Greater than half the victims have been C.I.A. workers, and Congress has approved more support for U.S. officers who’ve been affected by the sickness. Final month, the Home Intelligence Committee additionally demanded extra assets to assist discover the reason for the sicknesses and to evaluate the C.I.A.’s dealing with of instances.

The Nationwide Safety Council and the State Division have created job forces to analyze the reported accidents, which had been a high concern for Mr. Blinken even earlier than he took workplace. He’s not anticipated to cancel or delay his journey to Colombia, throughout which he’s more likely to deal with the problem of migrants and the political and humanitarian disaster in neighboring Venezuela.

Mr. Value mentioned the State Division had sought to be extra open with workers about reported assaults at diplomatic posts, aggressively tried to establish their trigger and offered care to individuals who complained of signs.

“We’ve taken various steps, together with by way of communication, by way of care, by way of detection, by way of safety for our work drive,” he mentioned. “And that’s one thing that can proceed to be a precedence for the secretary.”

Julian E. Barnes contributed reporting.




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