Cuba blasts U.S. for years of disregarding evidence on ‘Havana Syndrome’

Havana –

Cuba on Thursday accused the United States of taking too long to accept evidence that the “Havana Syndrome” was likely not caused by foreign enemies, while Washington accused the island of being ruled by communists. said he ignored science as an excuse to cut ties with

A global US intelligence investigation, declassified Wednesday, found that a foreign enemy was first identified in the Cuban capital, Havana, because of a mysterious disease that has plagued US diplomats and spies around the world. It concluded that the likelihood of this being the cause was “very low.”

“This conclusion … confirms what we already knew,” Deputy Foreign Minister Carlos Fernandez de Cosio said in an interview with Reuters in Havana late Thursday. “Unfortunately, the US government has used (Havana Syndrome) to derail bilateral relations and discredit Cuba.”

For years, Cuba has called the idea that “Havana Syndrome” resulted from an attack by a foreign agent “science fiction,” and in 2021 top Cuban scientists found evidence for such a claim. Is not.

The US State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Decocio’s remarks.

U.S. officials have previously said the science was inconclusive and ongoing, and that the government erred deliberately in determining its policy toward Cuba.

De Cossio told Reuters there was no shortage of evidence and this week’s revelations raised new questions about the credibility of other US policies toward Cuba.

He pointed to the US decision to continue blacklisting Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism, which he said was also unfounded. The Trump administration in 2021 said the island’s government was harboring American fugitives and Colombian rebel leaders and gave security support to socialist Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

“This State Department list is not a tool for furthering the fight against terrorism,” Decocio said. He said it was “a means of political and economic coercion against countries that do not subordinate their sovereignty to the whims of the US government.”

The “Havana Syndrome,” which the U.S. government has called an “unusual health case,” first appeared in 2016 after dozens of diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Havana complained of severe headaches, nausea, memory loss and dizziness. came to light.

Shortly after, the United States closed its embassy in Havana, complicating visa services for Cubans wishing to travel to the United States, and according to Cuba, mass transit to the United States via irregular and dangerous routes. became a factor in the outflow to

De Cossio also called this week’s US decision to “grant asylum” to pilots who fled Cuba on a stolen plane last year reckless.

“It’s a danger sign,” said Decocio, who said the pilot had violated U.S., Cuban and international law.

“The United States should think very carefully about the consequences of this act for the future of immigration relations between our two countries.”

A State Department official told Reuters that federal regulations prohibit the unauthorized disclosure of information related to asylum applications, including whether a particular individual is seeking asylum or being granted asylum. rice field.

(Reporting by Dave Sherwood, Havana; additional reporting by Nelson Acosta; editing by Christian Plumb, Christopher Cushing and Chizu Nomiyama)

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