Cuba Acoustic Attack: US Diplomats Suffer Hearing Loss

A member of the Cuban honor guard stands next to a new plaque at the front door of the newly reopened Cuban embassy in Washington. The State Department has expelled two diplomats from Cuba's Embassy in Washington after a series of unexplained incidents

According to Nauert, some USA government personnel working in Cuba's capital city on behalf of the USA embassy there reported "what we consider to be incidents" that caused "a variety of physical symptoms".

The State Department raised the incidents with the Cuban government over the course of several months and sent medical personnel to Havana, but have not been able to determine exactly what happened. The AP notes that their sources believe a "covert sonic device" triggered the symptoms, but there is no confirmation that the Cuban government possessed or used such a device. Some had to go to the United States for treatment and one is thought to have become permanently deaf.

"If it's true - and if it's true it would be very stupid of the Cubans to do that - it may give a pretext to at least keep the relations at this level, or downgrade them", Mr Mekelberg told Sky News.

One official told the Associated Press news agency that it could be potentially permanent hearing loss. They were allowed to leave Cuba, the officials said.

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There was freakish news out of the U.S. State Department on Wednesday as the Associated Press reported that U.S. diplomats had to return home from Cuba after experiencing "physical symptoms", which included "potentially permanent hearing loss". But she could not elaborate on the nature or cause of the incidents.

"We requested their departure as a reciprocal measure since some USA personnel's assignments in Havana had to be curtailed due to these incidents", Nauert said. "It took time to figure out what this was and we are still looking into it". "We don't know exactly what".

For years United States diplomats in Havana complained that they suffered harassment from Cuban officials and frequently had their homes and cars broken into. Although American diplomats operating in Cuba are often subject to surveillance and harassment, they have not been physically harmed before.

She added that the USA had expelled two Cuban diplomats from the nation's embassy in Washington back in May as a result of the attack.

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Nauert confirmed during Wednesday's briefing that the investigation is ongoing and authorities are still trying to determine what afflicted US Embassy staffers.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reaffirms that Cuba complies strictly and seriously with its obligations under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 regarding the protection of the integrity of diplomatic agents and the premises of the mission", the ministry added.

While they were not life-threatening, she revealed that a number of people had been brought home to the USA as a result.

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