Canada pulls diplomats' families from Cuba over mystery illness

18 Abril, 2018, 03:54 | Author: Earnest Bishop
  • Canada pulls diplomats' families from Cuba over mystery illness

Canada is recalling the families of diplomats posted to Havana, the government said Monday, as it continues to investigate "unusual health symptoms" reported by its staff previous year.

About 27 people from 10 diplomatic families underwent testing when some complained of dizziness, headaches and difficulty in concentrating.

OTTAWA-Canadian diplomats and their family members who suffered health problems during their postings in Cuba may have suffered brain injuries and the cause may have been man-made, a federal official says.

Some 24 United States diplomats have also been affected, some as far back as late 2016, with the country deciding to cut its Havana staffing numbers by two thirds in October due to the uncertainty.

Former US secretary of state Rex Tillerson said the symptoms resulted from "targeted attacks" but not who may have been behind them.

Canadian officials will also review the 15 roles at the embassy to see whether some staff can be brought home.

Canada pulls diplomats' families from Cuba over mystery illness
Canada pulls diplomats' families from Cuba over mystery illness

The Canadian Foreign Affairs Ministry said Canada is now working with the United States after the previous environmental assessment of its staff housing in March failed to turn up a cause.

Cuba has repeatedly denied either involvement in or knowledge of any attacks and has said its own investigation into the illnesses has turned up no evidence of deliberate action.

Canadian medical specialists, working with American counterparts who have been studying US diplomats who suffered similar health problems are now working on the theory that they have suffered a "new type of possible acquired brain injury".

Canadian officials said the ongoing problems are raising concerns about a new type of acquired brain injury, the cause of which remains unknown. "Additional research is needed to better understand this", said a statement issued by the ministry Monday.

The official, who spoke on background, bluntly admitted that nearly a year after the symptoms came to light, the USA and Canadian governments appear no closer to discovering the cause, despite a sizeable investigation by police and diplomatic officials in both countries, aided by the Cubans.

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