HAVANA – Cuba released details Sunday on the latest mysterious health incident involving a U.S. diplomat in the country, saying that Cuban officials learned of the episode late last month when the U.S. said that an embassy official felt ill after hearing “undefined sounds” in her home in Havana.
Cuba said in a statement released by its Foreign Ministry that U.S. officials reported May 29 that a female embassy official had reported experiencing “health symptoms” after hearing the sounds in her home two days earlier.
Cuba said it sent investigators to the home, who found no potential source of a sound and were not granted access to the official.
U.S. officials said Friday that they had pulled two workers from Cuba and were testing them for possible brain injury. There was no immediate explanation of why the Cuban statement only referred to one official.
The two individuals are considered “potentially new cases” but have not yet been “medically confirmed,” a State Department official said. Two other officials said the individuals have been brought for testing to the University of Pennsylvania, where doctors have been evaluating, treating and studying Americans affected in Cuba last year as well as almost 10 new possible cases from a U.S. consulate in China.
The officials weren’t authorized to comment publicly and requested anonymity.
If confirmed by doctors to have the same condition, the two individuals would mark the 25th and 26th confirmed patients from the bizarre incidents in Cuba that first were disclosed last year and have been deemed “specific attacks” by the U.S. government. The U.S. has said it doesn’t know who is behind it, but has argued Cuba is responsible for protecting all diplomats on its soil. Cuba has denied any involvement in or knowledge of what might have caused the injuries.
“Cuba has publicly and officially reiterated it’s willing to cooperate seriously in the joint search for answers, clarity and the solution of the alleged facts,” the Cuban statement said Sunday. “The Ministry of Foreign Relations reiterates that no evidence of the alleged incidents has been presented, and maintains its unwavering commitment to cooperate with U.S. authorities.”
The potential new cases come as the U.S. has being issuing health alerts to Americans in China after a worker at the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou reported symptoms and strange sounds and was flown to the U.S. That worker then was medically confirmed to have “suffered a medical incident consistent with what other U.S. government personnel experienced in Havana, Cuba,” the State Department has said.