By Waldo Mendiluza* Havana (PL) The United States returns these days to the issue of health incidents that allegedly affect diplomats from that country in Cuba, which it describes as attacks despite the lack of evidence to support such an accusation.
According to the Department of State, a U.S. official became in June the 25th person who present health problems on the island attributed to sounds capable of causing damage, although scientifically it is still an inexplicable situation, and even Washington recognizes it.
However, following the celebration on June 14 of the 7th Meeting of the Cuba-United States Bilateral Commission, the U.S. government again used the term attacks to refer to the matter.
In a press release, the State Department said it had asked its counterpart ‘to urgently identify the source of the attacks’ and to ‘ensure its cessation.’
According to the Cuban government, such a position responds to political motivations and is totally deliberate.
With the theme of the alleged incidents as an argument, the White House intensified its hostility towards the Caribbean country, withdrawing most of its personnel from the embassy in Havana, expelling several Cuban diplomats from the U.S. capital and issuing travel alerts about the island.
Thus, there was a backward movement in bilateral relations promoted by President Donald Trump, attributed to the complexities of the domestic politics of the northern country and the Republican president’s aim of dismantling the legacy of his predecessor in the Oval Office, Barack Obama.
Also in June, the Foreign Ministry of Cuba issued a statement in which it reiterated the lack of evidence on the facts presented by Washington, and ratified its commitment to cooperate in the face of their clarification.
It also insisted that the Caribbean country continues to be safe, a position recognized in the world tourism sector and backed by U.S. politicians, including Vermont Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, who led a delegation of U.S. congressmen that visited Havana in late February.
The legislators criticized Trump’s policy on the island, questioned the withdrawal of U.S. diplomats and denied that Cuba is dangerous for them.
In this regard, Leahy assured that neither he nor his colleagues were afraid to come, because they knew that there was no risk.
On June 5, Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, announced the creation of a group responsible for investigating the alleged health incidents related to his officials abroad.
In addition to Cuba, Washington reported at least one similar case at its Consulate in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, while in other parts of the world U.S. officials have reported some situations that have been ruled out later.
U.S. media echoed the complaints of a security agent who traveled to Singapore before Trump’s meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, but the ‘strange sounds’ reported by the official turned out to be ‘a false alarm.’
During the presentation of the search commission, Pompeo pointed out that ‘the nature of the damages suffered by the affected personnel has not been established or if there is a common cause for all the cases.’
As Cuba has done, the Chinese government asserted that its investigations did not provide clues or indications capable of triggering the events described by the U.S., whose authorities even handle the hypothesis of brain damage.
For the Cuban Doctor in Medical Sciences Nelson Gomez, there’s no scientific rigor in such an argument, which he considers to be a justification aimed at sowing fear in tourists who decide to travel to Cuba.
‘Initially, they referred to the possibility of a concussion in some of those affected. When it was demonstrated that this light brain trauma was impossible, they state that the symptoms and signs presented by the patients are similar to those observed in a concussion,’ he said in late May.
In an article published in Cubadebate website, the professor and head of the Neurology Service of the hospital Hermanos Ameijeiras said that it has never been proven that acoustic waves are capable of altering sections of white matter in the brain.
‘The fact of finding alterations of white matter does not establish a causal relationship with the alleged acoustic attacks,’ he insisted.
Like other experts and officials of the island, Gomez highlighted the need to have access to the alleged patients, with the aim to interrogate and examine them.
It would also be important to have access to the investigations carried out by the U.S., whose government has denied such a possibility, he added.
WILLINGNESS TO COOPERATE
The Cuban Foreign Ministry reiterated that the Caribbean country has publicly and officially expressed its willingness to cooperate seriously in the joint search for answers, clarification and resolution of the reported events.
‘The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterates that no evidence has been presented of the alleged incidents and maintains its unwavering commitment to cooperate with the U.S. authorities to clarify the situation and provide the best medical attention to those affected,’ it said in a statement.
The Director General of the United States of the Cuban Foreign Ministry, Carlos Fernandez de Cossio, told Prensa Latina in March that from the first day the island has been willing to cooperate with the investigations to unravel this issue.
We have made invitations, given samples of willingness to collaborate, shared information and asked the U.S. to share information with our authorities and with the multidisciplinary team that has worked on the subject, he stressed then.
According to the diplomat, Cuba has also asked for the possibility of meeting with people who have reported symptoms and effects on their health, and requested the possibility of interacting with the doctors who attended them in the U.S.
Fernandez de Cossio commented that despite these efforts by Cuba, ‘the U.S. collaboration has been insufficient.’
The Cuban government assures that Washington’s position has not changed over the months, as it continues to deny access to people who reported damages to their health, their medical histories, the doctors who treated them, and the medical conclusions on the process.
It also demands of the U.S. a responsible treatment of the issue, away from political manipulations by those who promote the backward movement in bilateral relations.
* Head of Prensa Latina News Agency’s National Editorial Department.