The U.S. Embassy in Colombia is investigating several cases of the mysterious neurological affliction known as Havana Syndrome, U.S. officials said, days before Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to visit.
In emails to embassy personnel, sent by Ambassador Philip Goldberg and others and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, the State Department vowed to address the issue “seriously, with objectivity and with sensitivity” as they work to determine who is affected.
At least five American families have come down with ailments, said people familiar with the matter in Bogotá, the Colombian capital.
Embassy staff were initially alerted to “an unexplained health incident” via email in mid-September. A later email, dated Oct. 1, informed embassy personnel that the regional security office was investigating “additional Anomalous Health Incidents,” the U.S. government’s term for the illness.
The October email added that “there is no stigma to reporting any health-related incident in which the underlying causes are not known.”
The American Embassy in Bogotá is among the U.S.’s largest in the world, with robust intelligence and antidrug operations working to thwart cocaine trafficking operations in the region and contend with the leftist regime in neighboring Venezuela.