WASHINGTON (AP) – The State Department is preparing to pay six-digit payments to victims of a mysterious brain injury known as “Havana Syndrome,” officials and a congressional aide have said.
Officials and aides say current and former State Department staff and their families suffering from “qualifying injuries” have received between $ 100,000 and $ 200,000 each since US embassy staff in Cuba first registered cases in 2016.
According to officials and aides, specific amounts are determined based on the severity and severity of the victim’s injuries, such as vertigo, cognitive damage, and brain damage, not limited to eyesight and hearing problems.
Payments only apply to victims who are employed by the State Department and their dependents. Other victims will receive any compensation through the federal agency that employs them. About 20% of all victims work or are employed in the State Department. Almost the rest of the week they worked in the CIA or the Department of Defense, which had their own medical procedures.
Officials and aides spoke on the anonymity ahead of next week’s publication of the State Department’s plan to pay compensation to victims under Havana law provisions signed into law by President Joe Biden last year.
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That draft rule will be published early next week and will not be finalized until after a 30-day period to request a public comment. The State Department, along with the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management, examines comments before implementing the final rule.
The State Department on Thursday declined to discuss the amount of the proposed payments, but said the Havana law “authorizes staff to make payments for certain qualifying injuries to the brain” and that it needs to publish its plans to implement such relief. Will happen “soon”.
Despite nearly six years of research, scientists, doctors and government officials have not been able to pinpoint the cause of the injuries, which some have speculated could be the result of a microwave or other type of attack from a foreign power. Russia has been widely accused of being behind the alleged attacks, but there is no evidence to support such claims.
These secret injuries were first reported by US Embassy staff in Havana, Cuba in late 2016 and have spread to almost 70 countries on all continents except Antarctica. The number of reports has dropped dramatically since the beginning of this year.