Six-figure compensation for Havana syndrome victims prepared by the Biden administration

People wait their turn for visa procedures nearby the embassy of Panama in Havana, Cuba, June 13, 2022. Picture taken on June 13, 2022. (Photo: Reuters/Anexandra Meneghini)

According to people acquainted with the situation, the Biden administration plans to compensate the sufferers of Havana Syndrome, the unusual health occurrences impacting U.S. diplomats and intelligence officers abroad, with payments ranging from $100,000 to $200,000.

The proposed rule, which is expected to be published in the coming days, follows the passage of the Havana Act by the U.S. Congress last year, which authorizes the State Department, CIA, and other U.S. government agencies to provide payments to staff and their families who have been affected by this syndrome while on assignment.

Approximately 200 U.S. ambassadors, officials, and family members are said to have been afflicted with a strange illness characterized by migraines, nausea, memory loss, and dizziness.

In 2016, it was first reported among U.S. officials in Havana, the capital of Cuba. However, it has been recorded in dozens of locales, including Russia, China, Europe, and Latin America.

Despite years of inquiry, the United States government has been unable to pinpoint the cause or whether an opponent such as Russia or China is responsible.

A CIA inquiry this year concluded that the agency had discovered no evidence of state actor participation in any of the approximately one thousand cases it had examined but that it was continuing to investigate a dozen unexplained examples.

In a process coordinated with the Office of Management and Budget, the State Department's draft rule is scheduled to stay open for comment for 30 days before becoming a final rule, according to sources familiar with the situation.

According to sources, the rule is likely to outline the eligibility requirements, which added that the specific payout amounts were still being determined.

The State Department declined to comment on the payments but stated that the Havana Act mandates the publication of implementation instructions. A representative for the department said, "We will have more details to provide on that process soon,"

Patients and legislators have claimed that U.S. government authorities have not taken the disease seriously enough.

In November, Secretary of State Antony Blinken selected Jonathan Moore, a seasoned diplomat, to chair the agency's task team addressing the issue. He swore to "no stone unturned to stop these occurrences as swiftly as possible." He tried to end these incidents as quickly as possible.

Publish : 2022-06-24 07:26:00

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