Canada recalls diplomats' families from Cuba amid reports of mysterious illness

17 April, 2018, 18:41 | Author: Wade Massey
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Cuba will be designated an unaccompanied post, putting it on par with Iraq and Afghanistan in terms of risk for families. The United States has not accused Cuba of such action but has said Havana holds responsibility nonetheless, arguing that such incidents could not have occurred on the small, communist-run island without the knowledge of Cuban officials.

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

The post in Havana will now rank alongside those in Iraq and Afghanistan as being too risky for diplomats' loved ones.

There are now 15 staff in Havana, and Canada will review whether all the positions are needed, the official said.

Ten Canadians, including children, have been affected by the illness, with symptoms including headaches, nose bleeds, loss of hearing, short-term memory loss, nausea and dizziness.

Staff at the USA embassy in Havana were similarly affected when the injuries surfaced last year.Washington pulled out its diplomatic staff in Havana in September and warned U.S. citizens not to visit Cuba.

Former secretary of state Rex Tillerson said at the time that there had been "targeted attacks".

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The move comes as 10 Canadians continue to show unexplained brain symptoms, government officials said.

Several theories about sonic attacks and psychological induced illnesses have been put forth but are now ruled out.

Air and water have also been tested but no clues were found.

A report by a Canadian medical specialist says that a new type of brain injury may be the cause of a mysterious illness.

They added: "Additional research is needed to better understand this".

More than million Canadian tourists visit Cuba every year.

Canadian diplomats will no longer be accompanied by family members in Cuba because of what it called "ongoing uncertainty" over the cause of the ailments, the ministry said in a statement.

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