Blinken Meets Colombian Embassy Employees Suffering From “Havana Syndrome”

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Blinken Meets Colombian Embassy Employees Suffering From “Havana Syndrome”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with US embassy staff in Colombia who have been diagnosed with the unexplained “Havana Syndrome” on Thursday and pledged to strive to preserve their health.

Blinken reviewed what are officially referred to as “anomalous health episodes” at a meeting with officials and then visited individually with people afflicted during a visit to the embassy in Bogota, according to a State Department official.

“He heard their stories and reaffirmed that the issue and their care are top priorities for him,” the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said.

“He made it clear that the health and safety of the workforce is his top priority,” he said, adding that the department is “dedicated to getting to the bottom of AHIs, providing care to those afflicted, and protecting our colleagues around the world.”

The so-called Havana Syndrome was first discovered in US personnel in Cuba in 2016, and incidents have subsequently been documented in China, Germany, Australia, Taiwan, Washington, DC, and now Colombia.

Headaches, nausea, and probable brain damage are among the symptoms induced by what appear to be odd sounds and microwave radiation.

The US has not formally acknowledged a perpetrator, but several reports have speculated that the attacks were carried out by foreign intelligence, presumably Russia, while other studies have speculated on other possibilities, such as viral hysteria.

Although it is unknown why the embassy in Bogota would be targeted, it is one of the largest in the world, with a large force working in intelligence and counter-narcotics.

Blinken had just returned from a three-day trip to South America. At least one surprise awaited him at the embassy in Bogota: an in-embassy band of diplomats welcomed him by playing one of Blinken’s own compositions.

“It truly does sound a lot better than when I last heard it,” Blinken, an amateur guitarist who has performed at Washington clubs, quipped about the tune.

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