Biden Admin Denying Care to Diplomats Suffering 'Havana Syndrome,' Staffers Say View of the United States Embassy in Havana on May 20, 2021. (YAMIL LAGE/AFP via Getty Images)
By Jeffrey Rodack | Thursday, 27 May 2021 11:12 AM
A group of U.S. diplomats and other government staffers who say they're suffering from symptoms consistent with "Havana Syndrome" have accused the Biden administration of denying them proper care.
"After four years of challenges, we were hopeful that the new administration would welcome a partnership with us to ensure those affected receive the care and treatment they need and ensure appropriate care for the new cases," they said in a Tuesday letter to Deputy Secretary of State Brian McKeon.
The letter added: "We have been disheartened to learn and experience that staff within the department continue to:
- Deny employees and injured family members access to proper medical evaluation and treatment.
- Reject scientific evidence regarding the injures and treatment needs
- Invalidate our injuries and experience."
The staffers said Senior Department leadership had "refused to meet with and hear directly from" injured personnel.
The illness was first reported when a number of U.S. and Canadian diplomats stationed in Havana, Cuba, reported signs of vertigo, headaches, and insomnia.
The syndrome has reportedly afflicted more than 130 U.S. diplomats, spies, and troops. The cause has not been identified.
CIA officials believe attacks on U.S. personnel overseas could be the result of some type of weapon that aims pulsed radio frequency energy at its victims.
The attacks first surfaced in 2016 and 2017, when diplomatic and intelligence personnel in Cuba first began reporting symptoms that seemed to appear out of the blue.
NBC News did not publish the names of those who signed the letter to the State Department but confirmed the letter’s authenticity
"The department leadership is aware of the letter and looks forward to discussing its contents with all relevant parties," a State Department spokesman said by email. "We have no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. personnel, their families, and other U.S. citizens."
According to NBC News, the letter was sent on behalf of 21 government workers and their spouses.
The group included a list of recommendations for responding to health incidents. Those recommendations include:
- Benefits assistance
- Care plan and response tor newly injured employees and families
- Security at at-risk posts
- Recognition for injured employees and families
- An accountability review board