Havana syndrome attacks US diplomatic personnel in Bogotá – Investigative Unit

A belt of luxurious buildings, located in the neighborhoods El Nogal and Rosales, in the north of Bogotá, is part of a secret investigation that the U.S. government advances for four weeks in Colombia.

(We invite you to read: ‘Havana Syndrome’, reported at the US embassy in Colombia)

It’s about the alleged attacks on members of your diplomatic delegation through the so-called ‘Havana syndrome’.

Philip Goldberg, United States Ambassador to Colombia.


Mauricio Moreno / TIME

It is the worrying condition that already strikes more than 200 of its employees located in 6 countries, to which Colombia has just joined.

A loud ringing in the ears is the beginning, which then triggers intense headaches, hearing and vision problems, fatigue and even physical and mental destabilization which is known as ‘cognitive fog’.

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Several of the affected Americans have rented apartments in that area, very close to the ambassador’s residence. Philip Goldberg.

One of them is an official who reported one of the first cases, who hit his family, including his baby.

In the hands of the CIA

The first cases of this syndrome occurred in Havana (Cuba) in 2016, those affected were both United States personnel and the Canadian diplomatic delegation.

And, in less than 5 weeks, there were four similar reports with common factors. All were concentrated in the places of residence of the targets and not in the headquarters of the embassy of the United States, which has signal inhibitors and, for now, with a capacity of just 30 percent due to the pandemic.

The first cases of this syndrome occurred in Havana (Cuba) in 2016, which is why it bears his name. At that time, those affected were both personnel from USA as well as the diplomatic delegation of Canada.

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In fact, Canadian officials recently denounced that they do not know how many diplomats (including family members) left Cuba with brain injuries.

Another element that drew attention is that a good part of those affected (worldwide) are linked to agencies that perform intelligence work.

Bill Burns

Bill Burns director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

Even the first week of September, when one of the first episodes was reported in Bogotá, a 15. 900 km another almost traced was taking place.

One of the advisers of Bill Burns, CIA Director – an agency that investigates all cases – suffered an attack while visiting India. Most worryingly, Burns and his team’s trip was secret.

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“This has led to the conclusion that the attacks are not carried out from the country where the target is, as was initially believed and that Third-country spies may be locating key personnel to put him out of action, “said an insider who agreed to speak despite the fact that the order is not to give statements.

In effect, the US embassy in Bogotá sent EL TIEMPO’s inquiries on the matter directly to Washington.

The Goldberg emails

The embassy was alerted to an inexplicable health incident (…)
the regional security office is investigating additional anomalous health incidents
Philip Goldberg
US Ambassador

These episodes are handled with such secrecy that the cases in Bogota They would not have met if not for a couple of emails from the ambassador Goldberg that The Wall Street Journal posted last Tuesday.

In internal messages, which ended in the State Department and the CIA, Goldberg assured that diplomatic headquarters personnel had begun to report “unexplained health incidents” (or UHI, for its acronym in English) since mid-September.

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At the same time, Colombian officials noted that the trips of agents of the FBI and DEA Colombia had been reduced.

In fact, EL TIEMPO consulted the topic at the time, but no one officially attributed it to the ‘Havana syndrome’.

Craig Faller

United States Southern Command Admiral


Private file

In the official emails, the ambassador notified that the cases are being investigated in a “serious, objective and sensitive manner.”

Later it was learned that one of the affected families (the baby’s) had to be evacuated from Colombia to be subjected to medical evaluations.

The event became more relevant because he was visiting the country on Southern Command chief, admiral Craig Faller, to discuss cooperation issues in security matters.

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When the senior official left, Ambassador Goldberg sent another email. The Friday October 1st it warned about “additional anomalous health incidents.”

Also negotiators?

Iván Duque and US Secretary O'Brien

Iván Duque said that the US Government assumed the investigation into the cases in Bogotá

On the matter, the president Ivan Duque He said that the US government took over the investigation into the cases in Bogotá and that, since they are its officials, they will lead the issue.

However, EL TIEMPO established that when the government ended Obama, United States intelligence agents asked a high official of the Colombian Police to inquire about the syndrome in Cuba.

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At that time, they were trying to unfreeze the relationships between Washington and HavanaAnd on the island was the delegation of the Santos government that was advancing in the peace agreement with the FARC.

Anthony Blinken and Marta Lucía Ramírez.

Anthony Blinken, Secretary of State of the United States and Marta Lucía Ramírez, Foreign Minister and Vice President of Colombia.

“I made the inquiries and in Cuba they denied having any link with this type of attack”, The officer told EL TIEMPO.

Nevertheless, a senior Santos government official He assured that it was possible to inquire whether two members of the Colombian delegation had suffered similar attacks.

(Check here all the articles of the Investigative Unit of EL TIEMPO)

The CIA progresses in an investigation to establish the origin of the so-called syndrome and if it is due to radio frequency attacks.

And in Colombia, the alarms are set on the visit of the United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken. He will arrive on October 20, he will meet with the president Ivan Duque and with the vice president and chancellor, Marta Lucia Ramirez, to discuss issues such as support for peace, the fight against irregular migration and the war against drug trafficking.

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En Twitter: @UinvestigativaET


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