WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the U.S. investigation into health attacks on the American diplomatic community in Havana (all times local):
A Canadian government official says his country first learned in March that a Canadian was affected by health attacks that have harmed U.S. diplomats in Cuba.
The official wasn’t authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Canadian government previously confirmed at least one Canadian diplomat was involved and said it was aware of unusual symptoms affecting Canadian and U.S. diplomatic personnel and their families in Havana. Canada officials are actively working with U.S. and Cuban authorities to ascertain the cause.
Canada has long had friendly ties with Cuba. But former Canadian Ambassador to Cuba James Bartleman says during his 1981-83 tour in Havana, he and his staff were targets of a string of mysterious attacks. Bartleman says his dog was poisoned.
— By Rob Gillies in Toronto
The United States says it is investigating another incident affecting the health of U.S. diplomats in Cuba that took place last month. The U.S. also says more Americans have been affected than previously disclosed.
The U.S. had said earlier that unexplained health attacks on Americans associated with the U.S. Embassy in Havana ended months ago and were no longer occurring. But State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert says Friday the U.S. can now confirm another incident in August is part of the investigation.
Nauert says there are now 19 American government personnel confirmed to have been affected. That’s an increase from the 16 the U.S. disclosed previously.
The State Department says it can’t rule out even more cases, and that medical professionals are still evaluating members of the embassy community.
The union representing American diplomats says mild traumatic brain injury is among the diagnoses given to diplomats in Cuba victimized by mysterious, unexplained attacks.
The American Foreign Service Association says it’s met with or spoken to 10 diplomats who have suffered health effects. The union says permanent hearing loss has also been diagnosed. Victims have reported other symptoms including brain swelling, severe headaches, balance problems and “cognitive disruption.”
The U.S. is still investigating attacks that occurred in 2016 and 2017 and were initially believed to be related to a covert sonic device. The State Department has said the attacks affected at least 16 Americans associated with the embassy in Havana.
The association says the U.S. must do “everything possible” to care for victims and ensure it doesn’t happen again.
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