US Diplomat Affected By ‘Havana Syndrome’ Reportedly Sues State Department
09:39 GMT 10.12.2021 (Updated: 13:27 GMT 06.08.2022)
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - A US State Department officer has filed a lawsuit against the agency and State Secretary Antony Blinken, accusing them of discriminating against the victims of so-called Havana syndrome on the grounds of disability, US media reported on Friday.
"Havana syndrome" is a set of inexplicable medical symptoms first detected in US diplomatic personnel in Cuba in 2016. The reported symptoms included physical and psychological abnormalities such as hearing loss, headaches, anxiety and depression. Subsequently, similar symptoms were documented in the US diplomatic missions in China and Europe.
A member of the diplomatic security services in China's Guangzhou, Mark Lenzi, alleged that since 2017 he and his family have suffered severe symptoms of the syndrome such as "sudden and unexplained mental and physical symptoms, including headaches, lightheadedness, nausea, nosebleeds, sleeplessness, and memory loss," CNN reported citing the suit documents.
According to Lenzi, the State Department downplayed the problem and undermined his efforts to investigate the causes of his condition. After attempting to warn his colleagues about "the potential danger" Lenzi was ordered to undergo psychiatric examination.
8 December 2021, 20:13 GMT
Eventually, Lenzi’s symptoms were medically attested back in the United States, but he continued "to face retaliation and discrimination by the State Department." The suit contains allegations of the State Department hindering his career advancement and creating administrative hurdles to his treatment.
The damages being sought by Lenzi’s against the State Department were not revealed to the media.
The State Department's dismissive stance on "Havana syndrome" earlier came under harsh criticism, in response to which, on 5 November, Blinken delivered the remarks claiming that the State Department will "spare no resources to protect the personnel" and will ensure that every employee receives medical care and assistance they need.