Canada sends home families of diplomats posted in Cuba

Cuban President Raul Castro during his visit to Vietnam earlier this

The Canadians, including some minors, have suffered from dizziness, nausea and difficulty concentrating.

Canadian officials said the ongoing problems are raising concerns about a new type of acquired brain injury, the cause of which remains unknown.

The Canadian government said results of an environmental assessment of diplomatic staff quarters in Havana, including tests of air and water quality, did not indicate anything that could point to a cause.

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

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Canada has also received information from Canadian and American medical specialists that raised concerns of a possible type of acquired brain injury, the official said, while initial theories of a sonic attack first raised by U.S. officials a year ago or mass psychosomatic causes are now considered to be improbable.


The United States said in March it was making permanent last year's decision to slash staffing at its Havana embassy by around two-thirds as the alleged health incidents among its diplomats remained unsolved.

Washington pulled out its diplomatic staff in Havana in September and warned U.S. citizens not to visit Cuba.

The official, who spoke on background, bluntly admitted that nearly a year after the symptoms came to light, the USA and Canadian governments appear no closer to discovering the cause, despite a sizeable investigation by police and diplomatic officials in both countries, aided by the Cubans.

As a favourite tourist destination for Canadians, Cuba annually attracts more than 1 million tourists, and Global Affairs Canada says there is no evidence of any related ailments among Canadian travellers.

In October Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said U.S. claims were a "political manipulation" aimed at damaging bilateral relations.

Canada and Cuba continue to have a positive relationship and have been cooperating to find a cause of the problem, the statement said.

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