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Cuba denies ‘acoustic attack’ on US diplomats in Havana

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The US embassy in Havana

By Caribbean News Now contributor

HAVANA, Cuba — In a press statement on Wednesday, Cuba’s ministry of foreign affairs said that Cuba has never, nor would it ever, allow Cuban territory be used for any action against accredited diplomatic agents or their families, without exception.

The denial came after US State Department officials disclosed that at least five employees of the US embassy in Havana had been subjected last year to an “acoustic attack” using sonic devices.

The US embassy employees experienced symptoms resembling concussions and two of them were sent back to the US for treatment. They could have suffered permanent hearing loss as a result, an official said.

According to three US officials, the sophisticated device that operated outside the range of audible sound was deployed either inside or outside the residences of US diplomats living in Havana.

Canadian officials also confirmed that a diplomat in Havana suffered from “unusual symptoms” just one day after the US said its diplomats in Cuba were targeted by an “acoustic attack.”

In a statement, a spokeswoman for Global Affairs Canada said the country is “aware of unusual symptoms affecting Canadian and US diplomatic personnel and their families in Havana.”

Canada and the US are actively working together with Cuba to ascertain the cause of the “unusual symptoms”, Canadian officials said in the statement.

On Wednesday, a US government official said that FBI agents will be allowed onto the island with Cuba’s cooperation to investigate the incidents.

The Cuban ministry of foreign affairs said it was informed on February 17 this year by the US Embassy in Havana and the Department of State of the occurrence of the incidents affecting some diplomats and their families.

“Cuba took this issue with the utmost seriousness and acted expeditiously and professionally in order to clarify the facts of this situation, initiating a comprehensive, priority and urgent investigation on the indications of the highest level of the Cuban government. To this end, it conveyed to the United States embassy the need for information-sharing and proposed to establish cooperation between the competent authorities of both countries,” the ministry said.

The Cuban authorities set up an inter-institutional expert committee for the analysis of the facts; expanded and reinforced the protection and security measures of the mission, its staff and diplomatic residences; and new channels were made available for direct communication between the embassy and the Department of Diplomatic Security.

On May 23, Washington expelled two Cuban diplomats in response to the incidents.