Jun 24, 2022 09:16 GMT
The plan provides six-figure compensation for officials who suffered the most negative consequences of the syndrome, such as job loss.
The Biden Administration plans to pay compensation of between 100,000 and 200,000 dollars to a series of US diplomats and intelligence agents who suffered symptoms of the malaise known as the ‘Havana syndrome’, informs The Washington Post, citing sources in the country’s Congress and a former official familiar with the matter.
In October of last year, President Joe Biden signed the ‘Havana Law’ which, among other things, authorizes the CIA and the State Department to provide more economic assistance to victims of the syndrome, defined by US authorities as an “abnormal health incident”. Still, developing a concrete support plan was made difficult in view of the wide range of symptoms that preclude a definitive diagnosis.
According to the sources, six-digit compensation will be assigned to the officials who suffered the more negative consequences caused by the syndrome, such as job loss. Both current and former officials and their families will be able to apply for the compensation, although the exact eligibility criteria are yet to be announced.
This is also not a definitive figure, as the compensation plan is still in the final stages of review, the sources stress.
The controversial syndrome
The ‘Havana syndrome’ received its name from the first cases reported at the US Embassy in the Cuban capital in 2016. Between 2016 and 2018 dozens of US and Canadian diplomats in Cuba complained repeatedly reported dizziness, blurred vision, memory loss, and difficulty concentrating.
The Trump Administration blamed the Cuban Government for these effects and in 2017 reduced some of its diplomatic staff on the island alleging that the health of its workers was in danger.
Since then, similar cases have been reported in other countries around the world, including several in Europe and Latin America.
Last year, CIA Director William Joseph Burns suggested that Russia might be behind it and even warned about “impact” if this was confirmed. Moscow, for its part, rejected any connection with the health incidents. A subsequent CIA report concluded that it is “unlikely that a foreign actor, including Russia, is waging a sustained global campaign to harm US personnel with a weapon or device.”