According to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the Trump administration is evaluating whether to close the recently reopened embassy in Havana. This follows a series of still unexplained incidents in which both American and Canadian citizens have been injured by still-unknown parties.“We have it under evaluation,” Tillerson said. “It’s a very serious issue with respect to the harm that certain individuals have suffered. We’ve brought some of those people home. It’s under review.”

The United States and Cuba re-opened their respective embassies after decades of diplomatic standoff in 2015, following an initiative of Barack Obama and Cuban leader Raul Castro.

There are 21 medically confirmed American victims, some of whom have permanent hearing loss or concussions. Some suffered nausea, headaches, and ear-ringing, while others struggle with concentration or common word recall. Some of the victims recall feeling vibrations or deafening sounds that were mysteriously audible in only parts of rooms. Some investigators theorize that they may have been victims of directed sonic energy. In other cases, some victims heard nothing but later developed symptoms.

Earlier, Tillerson called the events “health attacks” but the State Department now uses the term “incidents” while emphasizing the United States does not known the origin of the injuries. Cuban president Raul Castro has denied knowledge of the attacks. Cuban officials have said that they want to resolve the matter. The number of Americans affected could grow as more cases are potentially detected, fears the State Department. T

American experts have not identified either a culprit or a device, but are investigating sonic waves, an electromagnetic weapon, or an advanced spying operation gone awry. They have not ruled out the possibility that a third country, or a rogue faction of Cuban security services, might be involved.

Five Republican senators wrote to Tillerson on Friday and called on the top diplomat to close the embassy and also eject all Cuban diplomats out of the US. “Cuba’s neglect of its duty to protect our diplomats and their families cannot go unchallenged,” said the lawmakers, who included Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX). 

There are reports that Canadians have suffered similar injuries, while France has tested its embassy staff for potential sonic-induced injuries.
 



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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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