Mystery illness sees Canada halve its Cuba embassy staff

Desmond Boylan  AP

Vidal, the Cuban ambassador, said reducing the embassy staff would "not help find answers to the health symptoms reported by Canadian diplomats". Twenty-seven Americans working at the United States' embassy in Havana also experienced similar symptoms in the same time frame, prompting the U.S.to permanently reduce its embassy staff by 60% in 2018. "We have had close co-operation with the Cuban authorities since the health concerns of our employees posted in Havana first surfaced in the spring of 2017".

"In addition to revised security measures already initiated by the Canadian government, we have chose to reduce by up to half the number of Canadian staff posted to Havana", the release said on Wednesday.

The statement indicated that the number of diplomatic staff in Cuba would be cut in half.

"A further reduction in the (Canadian embassy) footprint is deemed to be the appropriate response", an official told reporters, according to Reuters.

Canadian and US diplomats in Havana first began complaining of dizziness, headaches and nausea in the spring of 2017. But these symptoms still are found in new employees, which bring the total number of affected staff to 14.

Josefina Vidal, Cuba's ambassador in Canada, issued a statement saying her Government considered the move "incomprehensible", but "Cuba remains committed to keeping the good state of bilateral relations".

The RCMP is leading an investigation into the cause of the ailments that have affected both serving diplomats and family members and have also struck several American diplomats in Havana.

"Canada has a positive and constructive relationship with Cuba", the agency said.

The mysterious cases at the United States embassy have sent US-Cuba relations plummeting from what had been a high point when the two countries, estranged for a half century, restored full diplomatic ties under former president Barack Obama in 2015.

Canada has discounted the idea of a "sonic attack" being the cause - a theory previously put forward by the USA state department a year ago.

It's the latest development in an worldwide mystery that has seen Canadian and USA diplomats in Havana hit with concussion-like symptoms, and which has left governments scrambling to find answers in what's being called "unprecedented and very hard incidents".

Confirmation of a new case in November prompted a visit by high-level Canadian delegation to assess the situation in Havana and meet with Cuban officials.

The US has not said what caused the incidents, although initial speculation centred on some type of sonic attack.

Vidal noted that Cuban officials have been closely cooperating with their Canadian counterparts, providing all available evidence and their best experts to determine the root cause of the illness.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Gomez blow for Liverpool's Bayern Champions League tie
Feb 02, 2019 - 08:12
It's set to be the best title race we have seen since 2013-14, which was coincidentally contested by the same 2 clubs. The opponents do many things against us and nothing happens. "Then we have the situation with Maguire", he continued.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Nikola Jokic set to be selected for first All-Star game
Feb 02, 2019 - 07:26
The captains will first choose from the pool of eight starters before selecting from this pool of 14 All-Star reserves. James will have the first pick between Nowitzki and his former teammate Wade.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Ice and snow to follow colder night as big freeze continues
Feb 02, 2019 - 04:49
Snow and ice is expected in the Highlands, Grampian, Central and Strathclyde weather areas from midnight until 14:00 on Monday. Around 100 vehicles are stranded on the A30 near Temple, also in Cornwall, because of a whiteout, Highways England said.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Ariana Grande Tries And Fails To Fix Botched Japanese Tattoo
Feb 01, 2019 - 07:29
The "Thank You, Next" pop star posted a new photo of the tat to her Instagram story Thursday with the caption: "slightly better". According to a Buzzfeed Japan reporter, what her new tattoo actually means now is " Japanese BBQ finger ".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Pelosi: ‘There Will Not Be Any Wall Money’ in Border Security Legislation
Feb 01, 2019 - 07:06
For President Trump and others in the GOP , though, Pelosi's statements are proof of a partisan refusal to negotiate. The president then said Ryan went "lame duck" and that impotence led to his reneging on the wall .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Christie's Memoir: Heavy on Kushner Criticism, Light on Gubernatorial Record
Feb 01, 2019 - 06:59
Christie puts Kushner behind a number of important shake-ups in the Trump White House, including the firing of Michael Flynn . To this, Christie reasoned his "change of heart" occurred because he knew Trump was "going to win" the election.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Schumer asks intel chiefs to educate Trump after 'extraordinarily inappropriate' criticism
Feb 01, 2019 - 05:14
Mark Warner of Virginia, the senior Democrat on the Senate's intelligence panel, also expressed displeasure with Trump's comments. And the number of those have doubled over the past three or four years, and nearly all of them. lead back to China.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Facebook paid users to track smartphone use
Feb 01, 2019 - 03:00
This move is likely to also affect Facebook's ability to test its apps internally before publishing them on Apple's App Store. The revelation of the research app demonstrates the lengths Facebook is willing to go to maintain a competitive edge.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top LeBron back in full-contact drills, but will miss 16th game
Feb 01, 2019 - 00:33
I just play basketball, control what I can control, come on the floor, be the best that I can be and listen to the people in my circle".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top FA Cup Roundup: Matt Doherty Rescues Wolves As Man City Blitz Burnley
Jan 30, 2019 - 04:20
Win one title, two titles, that can happen. "It's not easy to find around the world [a player like Silva ]". The 21-year-old said: "I have started this year on fire, I think, (and) not just for the goals".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top United Kingdom lawmakers vying to put their stamp on Brexit
Jan 30, 2019 - 04:09
Earlier, the Commons had voted against a proposal to delay Brexit in order to prevent the United Kingdom leaving without a deal. Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Duncan Smith said today that the proposal was "the best hope we've got".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Ronda Rousey vs Becky Lynch Title Match Set For Wrestlemania 35
Jan 30, 2019 - 03:45
Last night at the Royal Rumble , Becky Lynch entered herself into the Royal Rumble match, following an injury to Lana. Jax revealed what Flair told her after injuring Lynch , and the fan backlash she got on social media.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Venezuela targets Guaido with probe, travel ban, asset freeze
Jan 30, 2019 - 02:57
PDVSA becomes a Specially Designated National, meaning USA citizens are generally prohibited from dealing with it. Valero and Citgo are among the largest importers of Venezuelan crude.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Tiger Woods' challenge stalls with third-round 71 at Torrey Pines
Jan 30, 2019 - 02:56
Rose's advantage dipped to one stroke early in Sunday's round, which was contested on the South course. Obviously, if I go out and shoot 68, then that's a great round of golf.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top India seal ODI series in New Zealand
Jan 29, 2019 - 06:54
Only Taylor, and for a time Latham, offered any real resistance after another disastrous start by the top order. The two sides will next battle it out in the fourth ODI at Seddon Park, Hamilton on January 31.