Diplomats Sue Canada Government Over Mystery Illness in Cuba 1

The diplomats say Ottawa misled staff in Havana about the seriousness of the mysterious illness (Reuters)

By the BBC

A group of Canadian diplomats is suing the country’s government for C$28m ($21.1m; £16.4m) after they succumbed to a mysterious illness in Cuba.

The group of 14, including diplomats’ family members, says Ottawa took too long to warn, evacuate and treat them.

Last year, Canadian and US officials were recalled from Havana after complaining of dizziness and migraines.

The cause of the illness is unknown, but Canada has discounted the idea of a “sonic attack” on its embassy.

In a statement, the diplomats said: “Throughout the crisis, Canada downplayed the seriousness of the situation, hoarded and concealed critical health and safety information, and gave false, misleading and incomplete information to diplomatic staff.”

“My wife, she isn’t the same anymore,” one unnamed diplomat told Canadian broadcaster CBC.

“She has gaps in her memory, headaches, problems hearing. She picks up the telephone to make a call but forgets why, enters rooms without reason.”

According to CBC, staff at the Canadian embassy began experiencing symptoms of the so-called “Havana syndrome” in spring 2017.

Several families were subsequently moved from Havana, but until April 2018 Canada continued to post new staff to Cuba despite warnings from US counterparts who had received similar complaints.

The US withdrew most of its non-essential personnel from the country in September 2017 and said 21 embassy employees had been affected.

Last month, Canada said it would be cutting its embassy staff by up to half.

At a news conference in Washington, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said she was aware of the lawsuit.

“I am not going to comment on the specifics, but I do want to reiterate that I have met with some of these diplomats and, as I said to them, their health and safety needs to be our priority.”

Cuba has repeatedly denied any involvement in the incident.

The country’s Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodriguez, said US claims were a “political manipulation” aimed at damaging bilateral relations.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Expelled Spy Josefina Vidal Sits in on Republican’s Meeting With Cuban Leaders Reply

Senior Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officer Josefina Vidal

Senior Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officer Josefina Vidal

US Senators Meet Cuban Vice President, Foreign Minister

By Zee News

Havana: A delegation of United States’ Republican senators met with Cuban First Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel and Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez and discussed bilateral relations and other issues.

Senators Jeff Flake, Susan Collins and Pat Roberts met with Diaz-Canel at the Palace of the Revolution on Saturday and discussed the “progress made in the modernisation of Cuba`s economic and social model”, current bilateral relations and the “need to end the embargo”, state-run National Information Agency (AIN) reported.

Cuban foreign ministry`s Director General for the US, Josefina Vidal, who heads the Cuban team in negotiations with Washington, attended both meetings.

The delegation – which arrived in Cuba on Friday – is the first ever made up entirely of the Republicans since Washington and Havana announced last December 17 the decision to renew diplomatic relations.

The new policy of US President Barack Obama toward Cuba has met with strong opposition from some sections of the Republican Party, in whose ranks, however, there are lawmakers like Jeff Flake that support bilateral understanding.

Senator Flake of Arizona is the chief promoter of the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act, introduced in the US Congress last January as a move toward ending legal restrictions on US citizens traveling to the island nation.

Flake, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, first traveled to Cuba last November along with Democrat Tom Udall to visit imprisoned US contractor Alan Gross, who was freed following the announcement of the thaw in US-Cuban relations.

Editor’s Note:  Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officer Josefina Vidal was thrown out of the United States for espionage in 2003. She is likely to become the first Cuban Ambassador to the US under the Castro regime.