Four years ago, the US Embassy in Cuba claimed their previously healthy diplomats and agents, suffered remote attacks. The officials allegedly suffered hearing and brain damage.
Accusations and speculations from the United States created the hypothesis of a high-tech “mystery weapon” having been used, with alternatives ranging from sonic, infra, ultra, or micro-wave weaponry.
It got to the point where third countries were identified to possess such a weapon.
This was called the Havana Syndrome and was used in Washington and Florida by political actors who were committed to breaking the bilateral ties. This was the pretext used by Donald Trump’s government to close the consulate in the Cuban capital and remove most of the embassy staff.
But the citizens were the ones affected by the measure against the authorities of the small Caribbean island, and the successive decisions to hinder the travel between the countries.
Since then, Cubans who had hoped to join their relatives residing in the United States, had had to travel to a third country, for example Guyana or Mexico, and apply for a US visa that was often denied.
Naturally, this was awfully expensive as visas with limited duration and the possibility to renew them were eliminated by decree.
Next, cruises and other vessels were banned to stop in Cuban ports. Charter and commercial flights that connected US airports with airports from the island stopped flying.
Then began the hunt against fuel ships to Cuba which caused the suspension of economic activities and essential services, increasing the hardship of the population.
Four years and 240 hostile actions against Cuba later and it still hasn’t been proven that there was a sonic attack in Havana. This is what Johana Tablada, deputy director for US at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said recently.
The diplomat assured that her government paid the utmost attention to the matter, conducting a “thorough criminal investigation” involving professionals from different fields, both medical and scientific.
She recalled that, from the US side, Cuba cooperated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, government officials and medical experts.
The Cuban official pointed out that, under the pretext of sonic attacks, Mike Pompeo was one of the supporters of these decisions, first in his position as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and then as the Secretary of State.
The CIA were behind the hoax of the so-called Havana Syndrome, assured, in turn, Fabián Escalante, retired division general, expert in the Agency’s activities against Cuba and who must have a bulky dossier in the archives at Langley.
“How can one emit a radio wave that only affects certain people?”, asked the expert when referring to the events described by the US diplomats.
This was further confirmed by a recently declassified report from the US Department of State, that corroborated the lack of evidence to link Cuba with the mysterious health problems that affected the US officials. The text suggests that Trump’s order to shut down the embassy in Havana at the beginning of 2018, as a response to the “sonic attacks”, was a “political response plagued by mismanagement, lack of coordination, and procedural non-compliance.”
The declassification now of the report is no coincidence and, together with the Democrat Joe Biden’s ascension to power, points to a moment of change in US policy towards Cuba.
This, however, is no guarantee that those who were behind the plot of the so-called Havana Syndrome will stop conspiring to prevent a thaw between Washington and Havana. (PL)