sonic attacks

The U.S. State Department has sent "a number of individuals" from the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China, back to the U.S. after screenings showed they may have been affected by mysterious health problems similar to what diplomats experienced in Cuba.

The State Department said that a U.S. government employee assigned to Guangzhou, China, has reported experiencing "vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure."

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that "the medical indications are very similar and entirely consistent" with the symptoms reported by Americans working at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba. "We have medical teams that are moving to be on the ground there. We are working to figure out what took place both in Havana, and now in China, as well."

J. Scott Applewhite / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

In February 1996, Cuban fighter jets shot down two small, unarmed civilian airplanes piloted by members of the Cuban exile group Brothers to the Rescue – four of whom were killed.

Cuba argued the Brothers aircraft had violated Cuban airspace. But a U.N. investigation ruled otherwise, and the shootdowns were widely condemned as an unreasonably brutal act.

Associated Press

Doctors treating the U.S. Embassy victims of mysterious, invisible attacks in Cuba have discovered brain abnormalities as they search for clues to explain the hearing, vision, balance and memory damage, The Associated Press has learned.

It's the most specific finding to date about physical damage, showing that whatever it was that harmed the Americans, it led to perceptible changes in their brains. The finding is also one of several factors fueling growing skepticism that some kind of sonic weapon was involved.

The Acoustic Attacks and Science / Gobierno de Cuba

We still don’t know what or who caused the alleged sonic attacks that injured U.S. diplomats in Havana. Which is why Cuba put its own scientists online this week to debunk the claims.

Some two dozen personnel at the U.S. embassy in Havana say they were victims of acoustic attacks. The high-pitched sonic blasts started last year and caused hearing loss and other illnesses.

Courtsey Carla Leon

Before Hurricane Irma ravaged Cuba’s north coast last month, Carla León’s private business – renting her family’s three-bedroom house in Havana through Airbnb – had already begun losing customers thanks to another force of nature: Donald Trump.

Emily Michot / Miami Herald

ANALYSIS

Ever since former President Barack Obama normalized relations with Cuba three years ago – heralding the possibility of a new era after half a century of hostility – cold warriors on both sides of the Florida Straits have gnashed their teeth at the rapprochement.

But in the coming days and weeks, sources say the Trump Administration may well shelve a good chunk of the new normal in favor of the old normal the hawks prefer – in effect, the re-freezing of U.S.-Cuban relations.