Blinken meets Colombian embassy staff affected by “Havana syndrome”

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Bogota (AFP)

During a visit to the embassy in Bogota, Blinken discussed what are officially known as “abnormal health incidents” in a meeting with staff and then met privately with those affected, said an official from the State Department.

“He heard from their experiences and reiterated that the issue and their care are a top priority for him,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

“He made it clear that he did not have a higher priority than the health and safety of the workforce and stressed that the department is determined to get to the bottom of AHI, to provide care for people. affected and to protect our colleagues around the world, ”he said.

The so-called Havana Syndrome was first detected among U.S. personnel in Cuba in 2016, with incidents since reported in China, Germany, Australia, Taiwan, the U.S. capital and now Colombia.

Symptoms include headache, nausea, and possible brain damage triggered by what appears to be unusual sounds and microwave radiation.

The United States has not publicly named a culprit, but a number of reports suspect the attacks were the work of foreign intelligence, possibly Russia, although other studies have speculated others. causes, including viral hysteria.

It’s unclear why Bogota would be a target, but the embassy is one of the largest US missions in the world, with a large contingent working in intelligence and anti-narcotics.

Blinken was finishing a three-day visit to South America. The stop at the embassy in Bogota came with at least one surprise – a group of embassy diplomats greeted him playing one of Blinken’s own songs.

An amateur guitarist who has performed at clubs in Washington, Blinken joked about the song, “It really sounds a lot better than the last time I heard it.”