Ottawa is cutting the number of Canadian diplomats posted to the Canadian embassy in Havana, where Canadian diplomats and their families have experienced strange ailments since early 2017. (Franklin Reyes/AP)

13th Canadian diplomat diagnosed with mysterious ‘Havana Syndrome’

Canada is forced to review its diplomatic presence in Cuba following another case of a mysterious illness among embassy staff that has baffled medical researchers in Canada and the United States, officials said Thursday.

“Global Affairs Canada has decided to review our operations in Cuba,” a senior Canadian official said Thursday, speaking on condition of anonymity during a background briefing in Ottawa. “Next week, senior officials will travel to Havana to do just that.”

While it is too early to say what steps might be taken, all options are on the table, the senior official said.

“We’ll be looking at our operations, we’ll be looking at our footprint of staff, and we’ll be looking at what is the impact of this new information that we’ve received,” he added when pressed to elaborate. “It’s difficult to speculate even on the breadth of the options that are out there.”

Strange symptoms

The latest case, which was identified in the early summer of this year, brings the total of Canadian diplomatic officials and their family members affected by the mysterious illness to 13, raising serious questions about the health and safety of Canadian diplomats in Cuba, officials said.

The individual, who cannot be identified for privacy reasons, has suffered a “constellation of symptoms” of what the media are calling the “Havana Syndrome,” officials said.

These symptoms include nosebleeds, nausea, dizziness, loss of balance, headaches, hearing and vision complications, and fatigue, officials said.

There is no identifiable pattern to these occurrences, first of which were reported nearly 18 months ago and then were followed by a long hiatus, officials said.

Global Affairs Canada has asked the Brain Repair Centre at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to examine the effects of the brain injuries and their possible causes, officials said.

Canada has also shared information with the University of Pennsylvania, which has taken the lead in examining U.S. diplomatic personnel and family members at the request of the State Department, officials said.

While most of the affected Canadian diplomats and their family members have been able to resume their normal activities, many are still struggling with the symptoms.

In April, Canada announced that diplomats posted to Cuba will not be allowed to bring in their family and children due to the ongoing uncertainty. Twelve Canadian diplomats are currently in Havana.

Joint investigation

Cuba, Canada and the United States, whose diplomats have also suffered similar symptoms, are conducting a joint investigation. On the Canadian side it is led by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and on the U.S. side by the FBI.

“From the beginning, the government of Cuba has been co-operating,” a Canadian official said. “Cuba has expressed their desire to get to the bottom of the cause of these health conditions.”

Initially, the speculation had focused on some kind of acoustic or microwave attack. However, officials are now sceptical that a sonic attack is to blame.

“This is a new type of phenomena, we have been looking at each case and our approach has evolved as we learn more,” an official said. “But we still don’t understand or have identified what the cause is.”

Categories: Health, International, Politics
Tags: , , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet Netiquette guidelines.

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1.’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3.’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish or in one of the two official languages, English or French. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


One comment on “13th Canadian diplomat diagnosed with mysterious ‘Havana Syndrome’
  1. Avatar Edward Schweikert says:

    Could it be a bacteria that has evolved numerous times since the ‘50s/60s??