Havana Syndrome: A Mysterious Illness of Microwaves Haunting U.S. Diplomats & CIA Agents

The U.S. Doctors, CIA agents and even government officials have all been trying to find out what causes "Havana syndrome” that has targeted American diplomats and spies working Cuban embassy or overseas. Some call it a secret weapon, some call it a war strategy and some call it a problem that is just in the head. What could it be?

 It often starts with a sound, people couldn’t describe it properly- "grinding metal", "Buzzing", "piercing squeals", was something that they could come up with. 

What is Havana Syndrome?

In 2016, first cases of this syndrome were reported by the diplomats working in the U.S. embassy in Cuba. Havana Syndrome, an official nickname was granted for these unexplained cluster of incidents . Simultaneously cases were reported by the U.S. working officials in Asia and Europe. Michael Hoffer, the first medical professional  who examined the embassy workers came up with the theory along with other experts, stating it might be an attack by an “energy” weapon. According to a New York Times report Cold War-era surveillance equipment, were also known to cause symptoms matching the ones reported in Havana Syndrome cases. However, there is still no hard evidence to prove these theories.

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 What are the Symptoms?

One such case of a woman was dealt with where she described a hum and a certain pressure in her skull, another person felt a painful pulse. Those who didn’t feel any of those symptoms complained of heat or pressure. Those who were hearing sounds, covering ears made no difference for them. Some people were left feeling dizziness for months.

This Illness has reported to have two types of Symptoms:

1. Acute Symptoms

(Often occurring suddenly) Includes:

lLoud sounds (sometimes described as chirping, clicking or screeching) and pain in one or both ears, many felt sensations from a particular direction when at a certain location

  • Tinnitus, hearing loss
  • Intense pressure or vibration inside the head
  • Difficulty with memory or concentration
  • Visual Disturbances
  • Nausea
  • Unsteady gait, loss of balance, vertigo/dizziness

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2. Chronic Symptoms

(Can last weeks, months or longer) Includes:

  • Headache
  • Impaired concentration, memory loss
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Impaired balance

No definitive cause has been found, but scientific studies have noted many of the acute symptoms are consistent with exposure to directed radio frequency (RF) energy. One theory posits the use of RF energy by a U.S. adversary as a weapon or a tool of espionage.

What is Havana Syndrome Possibly Caused by? 

  • Properevidence has been hard to find, making the syndrome open for multiple emerging theories. Some are calling it a psychological illness, or secret weapon. But few collected evidences suggested microwaves to be the main culprit.  
  • In 2015, when diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba  werehostile, got finally restored after decades. But within 2 years the U.S. embassy shut down due to concern for the staff welfare, credited to Havana Syndrome.
  • Initially there were some speculations made, on the Cuban Government, having an influx of sonic weapons, but U.S. held their ground with it

The mystery of Havana syndrome has open ended discussions now. The fear has struck the government officials, and is also making it tough for the American diplomats and spies working overseas to operate. Even if we have some collective theories on the same, Havana Syndrome still remains a mystery, waiting to be uncovered.