May 24, 2019
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Cuba: No acoustic attacks on US, Canadian diplomatic personnel

Havana, Mar 14 (efe-epa).- Cuba's government on Thursday presented the results of its investigation into the unusual health symptoms that led dozens of diplomats from the United States and Canada to leave Havana, once again ruling out the possibility that they had been the target of an acoustic attack.

After a lengthy probe (the first complaints were reported in February 2017), Cuban experts found no evidence that any sonic attacks had occurred, the Foreign Ministry's director-general for US affairs, Carlos Fernandez de Cossio, said at a press conference.

A total of 26 American diplomats and their family members and 14 of their Canadian counterparts have experienced symptoms such as brain injuries, dizziness, headaches and concentration problems for reasons that remain unclear.

Both embassies have cut staff to the minimum, while in the case of the US some authorities have exacerbated bilateral tensions by saying that the diplomats' health problems were caused by acoustic or sonic "attacks."

A group of Cuban experts at Thursday's press conference in Havana, including state security agents, scientists and doctors, unveiled the findings of their investigations for the first time.

A parallel probe also has been carried out in the US, and the two teams of investigators have partially cooperated.

Citing their own figures and those from foreign publications, the Cuban experts said it was not technically feasible for the affected individuals to have been targeted by sonic, acoustic or microwave attacks.

They added that the symptoms the diplomats experienced also did not correspond to that alleged cause.

The experts' report downplayed the symptoms experienced by the US and Canadian diplomatic personnel, saying they could have been due in large part to pre-existing conditions or to the "influence of social media" and other psychological factors.

They also said insufficient cooperation by US investigators had made it more difficult to clarify the incident, adding that cooperation with Canada had been more fluid even though it has not yet led to any tangible results

Fernandez de Cossio, for his part, said US President Donald Trump's administration, which has retaliated for the health incidents by imposing travel restrictions on Cuba, had "manipulated" the information and made unfounded accusations against the Caribbean island.

He said Cuba "guarantees the safety and tranquility of all diplomatic missions and their personnel" and reiterated the Communist-ruled island's willingness to cooperate to determine the source of the mysterious symptoms.

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