The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday
that emails sent to embassy staff by US Ambassador Philip Goldberg in late September and early October referred to several "Anomalous Health Incidents," the US government's opaque term for the equally opaque neurological condition they say was first identified among staffers at the US embassy in Havana, Cuba, in 2016.
One official told the outlet that two American citizens had been affected and that one family was recently flown out of Colombia for treatment.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is scheduled to visit Colombia next week as part of a tour of several Latin American nations. Similarly, in late August
, US Vice President Kamala Harris had her visit to Hanoi, Vietnam, delayed by several hours after an "anomalous health incident" was reported at the US embassy there.
Since late 2016, staff at several US embassies around the globe have reported a more or less common set of symptoms, including dizziness, headache, fatigue, nausea, anxiety, cognitive difficulties, head ringing, and memory loss.
Five years later and the US government still has no explanation for the illness, but that hasn't stopped them from trying to lay blame on the Cuban or Russian governments, or from rotating through a series of theories about "sonic weapons"
and "pulsed microwave energy,"
as varying reports have suggested.
The most coherent theory that has emerged, but which is given almost no airtime in reports on Havana Syndrome, is that the condition is caused not by nefarious weaponry deployed by America's enemies, but an insect who irritating qualities are well-known across the Caribbean: the Indies short-tailed cricket
In January 2019, two scientists published a report pinpointing the troublesome insect as "fairly definitively" the cause, as they described it to the New York Times
. As Sputnik noted
at the time, the Associated Press had described
a recording of the sounds as "sort of like a mass of crickets" in 2017.
Notably, a US State Department report dating to December 2018 that was obtained and published last week by BuzzFeed News
arrived at the same conclusion. The report was authored by the JASON advisory group, a scientific panel that investigates items relevant to US national security.
“No plausible single source of energy (neither radio/microwaves nor sonic) can produce both the recorded audio/video signals and the reported medical effects,” the report noted. “We believe the recorded sounds are mechanical or biological in origin, rather than electronic. The most likely source is the Indies short-tailed cricket.”