Blinken spoke with Bogota Embassy staff affected by Havana Syndrome

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken attends meeting with youth leaders in Bogota, Colombia on October 21, 2021. REUTERS / Luisa Gonzalez / Pool / File Photo

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BOGOTA, Oct.21 (Reuters) – US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday met with staff at the US Embassy in Bogota who had been affected by Abnormal Health Incidents (AHI) – known as La Syndrome. Havana – said a senior State Department official.

The Wall Street Journal reported this month that at least five families linked to the US mission in Colombia have been affected by what the State Department is calling unexplained health incidents.

It is believed that around 200 American diplomats, officials and family members abroad have been stricken with the mysterious illness – with symptoms such as migraines, nausea, memory impairment and dizziness.

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It first came to public attention in 2016 after dozens of diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba complained about the disease, but officials did not not yet firmly concluded on the cause of the syndrome or the responsibility of an adversary.

A senior State Department official said Blinken addressed the incidents during a meeting with embassy staff and families on Thursday, the final leg of a three-day trip to South America.

“He made it clear that he did not have a higher priority than the health and safety of the workforce and stressed that the ministry is determined to get to the bottom of AHI, to provide care to people. affected and to protect our colleagues around the world, “said the official. noted.

Blinken then had a separate private meeting with those affected by the incident, the official said.

The Biden administration has been under pressure to show it takes the complaints seriously, with a bipartisan group of senators last week urging Blinken to quickly appoint a new official to lead the investigation into them. Read more

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Reporting by Simon Lewis Writing by Simon Lewis and Oliver Griffin; edited by Diane Craft and Rosalba O’Brien

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