More Mystery Surrounding “Medical Attacks“ on U.S. Diplomats in Cuba       

On September 14, the Associated Press reports an additional wrinkle to the mysterious medical attacks on U.S. diplomats in Cuba.[1]

One of the diplomats was sleeping in a room at the recently renovated, luxurious Hotel Capri, a 60-year-old concrete tower steps from the Malecon. He was awakened by a “blaring, grinding noise.” He climbed out of bed, got up and moved a few feet away to silence. He returned to the bed, but immediately was hit by the “agonizing sound.” Soon thereafter he experienced hearing loss and speech problems. Below are photographs of the hotel and one of its rooms.





Now it has been discovered by the AP that some of the earlier incidents in Havana “were confined to specific rooms or even parts of rooms with laser-like specificity.” In addition, some of the victims are having “problems concentrating or recalling specific words.”

Indeed, the cases have shown “different symptoms, different recollections of what happened. . . . In several episodes victims knew it was happening in real time, and there were strong indications of a sonic attack. Some felt vibrations, and heard sounds — loud ringing or a high-pitch chirping similar to crickets or cicadas. Others heard the grinding noise. Some victims awoke with ringing in their ears and fumbled for their alarm clocks, only to discover the ringing stopped when they moved away from their beds. The attacks seemed to come at night. Several victims reported they came in minute-long bursts. Yet others heard nothing, felt nothing. Later, their symptoms came.”

These cases continue to baffle U.S. and Cuban officials. “Investigators have tested several theories about an intentional attack — by Cuba’s government, a rogue faction of its security forces, a third country like Russia, or some combination thereof. Yet they’ve left open the possibility an advanced espionage operation went horribly awry, or that some other, less nefarious explanation is to blame.”

“Sound and health experts are equally baffled. Targeted, localized beams of sound are possible, but the laws of acoustics suggest such a device would probably be large and not easily concealed. Officials said it’s unclear whether the device’s effects were localized by design or due to some other technical factor.”


[1] Assoc. Press, New Details Deepen Mystery of US Diplomats’ Illness in Cuba , N.Y. Times (Sept. 14, 2017). Previous posts have discussed these issues regarding U.S. diplomats in Cuba: U.S. and Cuba Have Diplomatic Dispute (Aug. 10, 2017); Another State Department Briefing Regarding Cuban Diplomatic Dispute (Aug. 10, 2017); Update on U.S.-Cuba Diplomatic Dispute Over Health  Conditions of U.S. Diplomats Stationed in Cuba (Aug. 23, 2017); At Least 16 U.S. Diplomats Who Had Served In Cuba Have Medical Problems (Aug. 24, 2017) (comment on 8/23/17 post); Washington Post Editorial Blames Cuba for Americans Medical Problems in Cuba (Aug. 25, 2017) (comment on 8/23/17 post); News About Cuba-Related Medical Problems from Canada and London (Aug. 26, 2017) (comment on 8/23/17 post); In August, New Cases of Injured U.S. Diplomats in Cuba (Sept. 2, 2017); Two More U.S. Diplomats Serving in Cuba Have Medical Problems (Sept. 13, 2017) (comment on 9/2/17 post).


Published by


As a retired lawyer and adjunct law professor, Duane W. Krohnke has developed strong interests in U.S. and international law, politics and history. He also is a Christian and an active member of Minneapolis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church. His blog draws from these and other interests. He delights in the writing freedom of blogging that does not follow a preordained logical structure. The ex post facto logical organization of the posts and comments is set forth in the continually being revised “List of Posts and Comments–Topical” in the Pages section on the right side of the blog.

Leave a Reply