National Security

American Tourists Fear They Were Also Hit By Sonic Attacks In Cuba

REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini

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Will Racke Immigration and Foreign Policy Reporter
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After recent revelations that U.S. diplomats in Havana, Cuba, were targeted by mysterious “sonic attacks,” many American tourists now believe they were victims of the same unexplained phenomenon.

In at least one case, a private American citizen reported experiencing disturbing neurological symptoms while staying in the same hotel as U.S. government personnel who would later suffer similar problems.

Chris Allen, a tourist from South Carolina, told The Associated Press he was struck by tingling and numbness in all four limbs shortly after climbing into bed at Havana’s Hotel Capri while vacationing in 2014. A popular destination for foreign travelers and diplomatic personnel, the Capri is one of the locations in Havana where U.S. officials were targeted by sonic attacks earlier this year.

Reports first surfaced this summer that American diplomats had suffered bizarre symptoms in what the State Department originally described as “health incidents.” Department officials later revealed the embassy employees had been the victims of deliberate “sonic” attacks that caused permanent hearing damage, memory loss, and impaired cognitive function.

The incidents have caused significant diplomatic fallout between Washington and Havana, which had only just begun to normalize relations after decades of Cold War animosity. While the State Department has not directly blamed the Cuban government for the attacks, President Donald Trump and other White House officials have said Havana bears responsibility for not doing more to protect U.S. personnel assigned there. (RELATED: Trump Blames Cuba For Attacks On US Diplomats)

Allen’s case has not been definitively tied to the incidents affecting American diplomats, which occurred two years later, but there are striking parallels between them, reports the AP.

Like some of the affected U.S. officials, Allen was staying on an upper floor of the Capri Hotel. He described symptoms that struck when he was in bed but went away in other areas of the room, similar to accounts given by U.S. government workers. Allen also reported feeling the symptoms at night, as did the American officials.

The State Department has received reports from several American tourists who say they’ve experienced symptoms similar to what embassy workers suffered, but department officials have not been able to verify those stories or determine if they are connected to attacks on U.S. personnel.

The department revised its travel warning for Cuba last month, recommending private U.S. citizens refrain from traveling there until the source of the sonic attacks is determined.

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