Sunday, 22 July, 2018


Canada bars diplomats from bringing family to Cuba

Cuban President Raul Castro during his visit to Vietnam earlier this Cuban President Raul Castro during his visit to Vietnam earlier this
Noah Ferguson | 17 April, 2018, 14:25

Canadian diplomats will no longer be accompanied by family members in Cuba because of what it called "ongoing uncertainty" over the cause of the ailments, the ministry said in a statement.

The embassy will now be designated an unaccompanied post, meaning diplomats will have to live there alone.

There are now 15 staff in Havana, and Canada will review whether all the positions are needed, the official said.

The illnesses affected both Canadian and American diplomats and their families.

Questions emerged "more recently" with information from Canadian medical specialists involved in the evaluation of affected diplomats and dependents as well as from USA specialists that "raised concerns for a new type of a possible acquired brain injury", the ministry said.

Former secretary of state Rex Tillerson said at the time that there had been "targeted attacks".

While there had been no new cases since the second half of past year, diplomatic families returning to Canada had continued to report symptoms including dizziness, headaches and inability to concentrate, Global Affairs Canada said in a statement.

Computer scientists at the University of MI said the problems may have been caused by eavesdropping devices and the ultrasonic distortion they produce, which can be harmful.

Ottawa will remove families of diplomats posted at its embassy in Cuba as the cause of unusual health symptoms is still unknown, though information from medical specialists has raised concerns of a new type of brain injury, Canada said on Monday.

The Canadian government said results of an environmental assessment of diplomatic staff quarters in Havana, including tests of air and water quality, did not indicate anything that could point to a cause. "Additional research is needed to better understand this", said a statement issued by the ministry on Monday.

No tourists appear to have fallen ill and Canadian officials maintain Cuba is safe for holidaymakers.

"The investigation continues", she said.

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