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The US Senate on Monday voted unanimously to pass a law that would provide additional resources to US officials suffering from so-called “Havana Syndrome,” a mysterious set of symptoms that first affected people. federal employees stationed in Cuba in 2016.
The bipartisan bill – Helping American Victims Afflicted by Neurological Attacks (HAVANA) Act – would allow financial support for U.S. officials reporting symptoms related to the syndrome, including headaches, nausea, hearing and vision changes, dizziness and memory loss.
“Far too many victims of ‘Havana Syndrome’ have had to fight bureaucracy to receive treatment for their debilitating injuries. American personnel who suffered these attacks while serving our country should be treated the same as we would treat a soldier who suffered a traumatic injury on the battlefield, ”Republican Senator from Maine Susan Collins, co-author of the bill, said in a statement.
As of late 2016, dozens of U.S. Embassy staff in Havana, Cuba, and later in Guangzhou, China, complained of symptoms, including cognitive difficulties.
The New York Times Recently reported that health incidents have now affected more than 130 federal employees.
A number of State Department employees recently sent a letter to executives alleging that victims of the syndrome were not receiving proper care, NBC News reported.
The sudden onset of particular symptoms has often baffled US officials. Former President Donald Trump said in 2017 that Cuba was “responsible”, but other officials pointed to other adversaries.
In 2020, at the request of the State Department, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine investigated the syndrome and concluded that microwave radiation was the “most plausible” cause of illness in Americans.
The report did not speculate on whether the radiation exposure of diplomats was intentional – the product of armed microwaves wielded by enemies of the United States.
In a shared statement, the senatorial co-sponsors of the legislation called the incidents “likely directed energy attacks.”
“We also need a whole-of-government approach to determine what this weapon is and who is wielding it in order to prevent future attacks and to protect Americans,” Collins said in a statement Monday.
The bill would give the CIA director, secretary of state and other agency heads the latitude to provide additional financial and medical support to those suffering from persistent health problems stemming from the syndrome.