Canada pulls diplomat families out of Cuba

Still no explanation for illnesses experienced by Canadians, Americans

By Barry Ellsworth

TRENTON, Canada (AA) – Canada has ordered families of its diplomats in Cuba to return home because of mysterious illnesses, the government said Monday.

Cuba has been designated as an “unaccompanied post” by the Canadian government, meaning the families of Canadian diplomats are not permitted to live with the diplomats.

The action was taken after a new medical report suggested that the mysterious illnesses that affected 10 Canadians – unexplained headaches, nausea, short-term memory loss and dizziness – could be the result of a “new type of possible acquired brain injury”.

“The cause remains unknown but could be human-made,” Global Affairs Canada said in a statement.

The illnesses affected both Canadian and American diplomats and their families. Canada dispatched a doctor last June to examine its victims of the maladies, but no diagnosis was conclusive.

Several theories about sonic attacks and psychological induced illnesses have been put forth but are now ruled out. Several victims said they heard painful, high-pitched sounds.

The United States pulled much of its staff and families, leaving only 10 in Havana after 24 Americans reported symptoms in January.

The families will return to Canada over the next few weeks.

Canada has a few unaccompanied diplomatic posts, including Kabul and Tripoli.

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