The State Department is reportedly set to distribute large sums to officials and family members affected by the mystery illness
The US government will soon compensate people suffering from “Havana syndrome” – a cluster of unexplained symptoms reported by some foreign officials and their relatives – with some set to receive more than $100,000, multiple media reported.
The State Department is preparing to offer payments between $100,000 and $200,000 to employees with “eligible injuries” linked to the syndrome, according to unnamed officials quoted by the Associated Press, Washington Post, NBC and other agencies. However, compensation will initially be limited to Department of State personnel and their dependents, and specific amounts will be determined based on the severity of injuries.
Only about 20% of those reporting symptoms of Havana syndrome worked for the State Department, with most of the rest employed by the Pentagon or the CIA, which have their own policies for such medical issues, according to the PA.
In a classified briefing Thursday, CIA Deputy Director David Cohen and FBI Deputy Director Alan Kohler briefed senators on the unexplained illness, which the Joe Biden administration collectively calls “abnormal health incidents”. Other State Department and CIA officials also told lawmakers the government would soon provide a plan on how to compensate victims of Havana Syndrome, according to the Post, which was first to report. six-figure payouts.
This plan will be based on the HAVANA Act, a law signed by President Biden last year that authorized the heads of the State Department and the CIA to decide who is eligible for compensation. Although the bill sets an April deadline by which officials would have to come up with a payment management system, they have fallen behind schedule and have yet to finalize a plan.
Havana Syndrome was first reported by diplomats stationed at the US Embassy in Havana, Cuba in 2016 with symptoms including headache, dizziness, tinnitus and dizziness, as well as disturbances in vision, hearing and balance. Some are said to have suffered long-term brain damage.
In late 2020, a panel of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine concluded that a “directed and pulsed radio frequency (RF) energy” was likely the culprit for the disease, prompting media speculation that Russia or China had launched a new top-secret weapon at US targets. However, other experts have cast doubt on the “directed energy” hypothesis.
Other theories have also been advanced. While the Associated Press in 2017 published a cricket-like sound purporting to be a “sonic attack” on US diplomats in Cuba, a pair of experts reviewed the recording and determined that the noise did not simply sound like insects, but was actually the mating call of the male Indian short-tailed cricket.
Cuban scientists have dismissed claims that secret sonic weapons could be the cause of the syndrome, saying there was “no scientific evidence of attacks” and that the symptoms were linked to mass psychosis among US officials and those close to them.