WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- The State Department issued a travel warning to American tourists advising not to travel to Cuba in September last year.
- The U.S. pulled most of its staff at its embassy in the Cuban capital when 24 U.S. Embassy employees were injured in sonic weapon attacks.
- A new travel advisory was issued after 19 American travelers have reported symptoms similar to those suffered by U.S. diplomats.
The first travel warning to Cuba was issued by the State Department in late September after 24 U.S. diplomats and their families were attacked while they were stationed in Havana.
Recently, 19 American citizens who visited Cuba have reported experiencing similar symptoms to those who had been identified as victims of alleged sonic attacks in Cuba.
“Since September 29, the Department of State has been contacted by 19 U.S. citizens who reported experiencing symptoms similar to those listed in the Travel Warning after visiting Cuba,” a State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs’ spokesperson told the Miami Herald through email.
“We continue to urge U.S. citizens to reconsider travel to Cuba,” she added.
The list of symptoms described in the travel advisory is still the same: “ear complaints and hearing loss, dizziness, headache, fatigue, cognitive issues, and difficulty sleeping.”
“Because our personnel’s safety is at risk, and we are unable to identify the source of the attacks, we believe U.S. citizens may also be at risk. Attacks have occurred in U.S. diplomatic residences and at Hotel Nacional and Hotel Capri in Havana,” according to the latest advisory.
The first public recording of what investigators initially believed was a sonic weapon was released by the Associated Press in October.
It was not clear whether the American travelers reported hearing strange sounds like some of the 24 diplomats did nor whether they were checked in at the Nacional or Capri hotels. There was also no clarification from the State Department whether U.S. doctors and investigators have established that these tourists had experienced the same type of attacks as the diplomats.
The Cuban government called the attacks “science fiction” and vehemently denied any responsibility. In its attempt to counteract the travel alert, representatives of U.S. travel agencies reiterated that Cuba is “one of the safest tourist destinations in the world” in an event called CubaMediaDay on Monday in Havana.
Source: Miami Herald