Published: Fri, February 01, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Canada Cuts Staff At Cuba Embassy Amid Fears Of Mysterious Brain Disease

Canada Cuts Staff At Cuba Embassy Amid Fears Of Mysterious Brain Disease

The US embassy in Cuba had previously cut staffing after its own diplomats suffered mysterious illnesses, which some US officials initially thought were the result of "sonic weapons" that emitted a powerful beam of energy causing neurological problems, reports CNN.

The unidentified diplomat has become the 14th person in Canada's Cuban embassy to fall victim to the illness, the origins of which are still shrouded in mystery.

Canada is reducing its diplomatic staff posted to Havana by up to half after medical testing revealed an additional employee with "unusual" health symptoms, the country's Global Affairs announced Wednesday.

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

That individual reported health concerns on December 29 and was sent for immediate medical testing, which confirmed symptoms similar to those experienced by the others: dizziness, headaches, hearing and visual problems and fatigue. 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.

Spouses and dependents of Canadian diplomats were ordered to return home last April.

The agency said that some other programs may be "adjusted" in the coming weeks, however.

Canada will retain its embassy in Hanava, headed by an ambassador, and provide full consular services to Canadians.

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"This behavior favors those who in the United States use this issue to attack and denigrate Cuba", Vidal said.

At that time, the Canadian government said that it had chose to allow embassy employees in Cuba to leave for Canada if they wished.

"Over all, we have a multifaceted relationship with Cuba, which is very positive and continues", another official said. The Cuban government has denied any involvement in the incidents.

The mysterious case has sent U.S. -Cuba relations plummeting from what had been a high point when the two countries, estranged for a half century, restored full diplomatic ties under President Barack Obama in 2015.

Kimberly Breier, the current USA assistant secretary of state for the region, noted the latest confirmed Canadian injury in a tweet.

Dr. Shawn Marshall, who has been treating affected Canadian diplomats and their families, also does not believe mass hysteria or stress could be the culprits.

A Canadian official said government officials are working closely with USA officials. The November case was the first to be reported since October, 2017, officials said.

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.

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