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​Unexplained brain symptoms spark recall of Canadian diplomatic families from Cuba

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  • ​Unexplained brain symptoms spark recall of Canadian diplomatic families from Cuba

    Unexplained brain symptoms spark recall of Canadian diplomatic families from Cuba

    Government officials say the ongoing problems are raising concerns about a new type of acquired brain injury, the cause of which is unknown

    The Canadian PressTHE CANADIAN PRESS
    Published on: April 16, 2018 | Last Updated: April 16, 2018 9:37 PM MDT

    OTTAWA — The families of Canadian diplomats serving in Cuba are being recalled as a response to mysterious incidents which have plagued some staff and dependents.

    The move comes after 10 Canadians continue to show unexplained brain symptoms, officials say.

    That number includes an unknown number of children and non-diplomat family members, but government officials are giving no further breakdown, citing privacy concerns.

    Government officials, who briefed journalists on the condition of anonymity, say the ongoing problems are raising concerns about a new type of acquired brain injury, the cause of which remains a mystery. Officials say the cause could be human-made.
    ...

    http://calgaryherald.com/news/world/...c-16975f80be0d

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    Statement by Global Affairs Canada on ongoing health and security situation of Canadian diplomatic staff and dependants in Havana, Cuba

    Statement


    From: Global Affairs Canada

    April 16, 2018 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

    The Government of Canada continues to investigate the potential causes of unusual health symptoms reported in 2017 by some Canadian diplomatic staff and dependants posted to Havana, Cuba. There is a government-wide effort to address this situation, including an ongoing investigation in cooperation with Cuban authorities. The health, safety, and security of our diplomatic staff and their families is our top priority.

    All members of the Canadian diplomatic family who reported unusual symptoms have received medical testing. In the majority of cases, no additional medical follow-up was required.

    There have been no new incidents since the early fall of 2017. Diplomatic families who have returned to Canada, however, have continued to experience symptoms. The symptoms include dizziness, headaches and lack of ability to concentrate, amongst others. In some cases the symptoms have appeared to lessen in intensity, before reasserting themselves.

    In March 2018, the Department received the results of an environmental assessment of our diplomatic staff quarters in Havana, including tests of air and water quality. This assessment did not indicate anything that could point to a cause.

    More recently we have received information from Canadian medical specialists involved in the evaluation of affected Canadian diplomats and dependants, as well as from American medical specialists studying a cohort of affected US diplomatic staff at the University of Pennsylvania. According to these specialists, medical information raised concerns for a new type of a possible acquired brain injury. Additional research is needed to better understand this. The cause remains unknown but could be human-made.

    As a result of this ongoing uncertainty, Global Affairs Canada has decided to change the designation of our Embassy of Canada to Cuba to an ‘unaccompanied post’. This means that Canadian diplomats posted to Cuba will not be accompanied by their dependants. Arrangements will be made to support our diplomatic staff and their families returning to Canada in the coming weeks, as well as for those families who had expected to be posted to Cuba this summer. At the same time we will be reviewing all of our diplomatic positions in Cuba, with a view to balancing our duty of care to our staff members and their families, with the ongoing need to deliver services to Canadians in Cuba, and to promote and protect Canadian interests there.
    ...

    https://www.canada.ca/en/global-affa...vana-cuba.html

    "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
    -Nelson Mandela

  • #2
    Another Canadian diplomat in Cuba affected by mysterious brain injury
    ...
    Evan Dyer CBC News Posted: Nov 28, 2018 10:38 PM ET | Last Updated: 5 hours ago

    Another Canadian diplomat has reported a traumatic brain injury while stationed in Cuba, bringing to 13 the total number of cases among diplomats and dependents with "unusual health symptoms."

    The affected person is receiving medical attention, according to a statement from Global Affairs Canada, while the government continues to investigate the potential causes of the so-called Havana Syndrome.

    "In light of this new information, a decision has been made to allow staff currently posted to Cuba to return to Canada if they wish," the statement read.

    It's been more than a year since the last report of such an injury at the Canadian embassy in Havana. Several U.S. and Canadian diplomats and family members have been treated over the past two years after reporting strange concussion-like symptoms.

    Both countries believe their diplomats have been targeted using an unknown technology, and both the FBI and RCMP are investigating...
    ...

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/can...cted-1.4924987
    "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
    -Nelson Mandela

    Comment


    • #3
      Statement on health and security of Canadian diplomatic staff in Havana, Cuba

      From: Global Affairs Canada
      Statement

      January 30, 2019 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

      The health, safety and security of our diplomatic staff and their families remain our priority. The Canadian government continues to investigate the potential causes of the unusual health symptoms experienced by some Canadian diplomatic staff and their family members posted in Havana, Cuba. To date, no cause has been identified.

      Following the last confirmed case of unusual health symptoms in November 2018, a number of Canadian diplomatic staff posted to Havana underwent additional medical testing. These tests confirm that an additional employee has symptoms consistent with those of previously affected employees.
      This brings the total number of affected Canadian employees, spouses and dependents to 14. All affected people will continue to receive medical attention, as required.

      In addition to revised security measures already initiated by the Canadian government, we have decided to reduce by up to half the number of Canadian staff posted to Havana.

      Canada will continue to have an embassy in Havana, Cuba, headed by an ambassador. Full consular services will be available to Canadians in Cuba. However, some other programs may be adjusted in the coming weeks.

      There is no evidence that Canadian travellers to Cuba are at risk. Canadian travellers should continue to consult the Government of Canada’s Travel Advice and Advisories for the latest updates. Consular assistance continues to be provided from Havana, Varadero and Guardalavaca.

      Canada has a positive and constructive relationship with Cuba. We have had close cooperation with the Cuban authorities since the health concerns of our employees posted in Havana first surfaced in the spring of 2017.
      ...
      https://www.canada.ca/en/global-affa...vana-cuba.html






      "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
      -Nelson Mandela

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