State Department pays six-figure sums to victims of Havana Syndrome

WASHINGTON – The State Department is preparing to compensate victims of mysterious brain injuries colloquially known as “Havana Syndrome” with six-figure payments, according to officials and a congressional aide.

Current and former State Department employees and their families who have suffered “qualifying injuries” since cases were first reported among U.S. embassy employees in Cuba in 2016 will each receive payments of about $100,000 to $200,000, officials said and employees.

Specific amounts are determined based on the extent and severity of victims’ injuries, which officials and responders said included brain damage not limited to dizziness, cognitive damage, vision and hearing problems.

The payments apply only to victims employed by the State Department and their dependents. Other victims are compensated by the federal agency that employed them. About 20% of all victims are or were employed by the State Department. Almost everyone else was employed by the CIA or the Department of Defense, which have their own medical policies.


The officials and advisers spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the expected release next week about the State Department’s plan to compensate victims under the terms of the HAVANA Act, which President Joe Biden signed into law last year.

This draft rule is expected to be released early next week and will not become final until after a 30-day period of soliciting public comment. The State Department, along with the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management, will review the comments before issuing a final rule.

The State Department on Thursday declined to discuss the size of the proposed payments, but noted that the HAVANA law authorizes it to “make payments to personnel for certain qualifying brain injuries” and requires it to outline its plans to implement such relief releasing like it said would happen “soon”.

Despite nearly six years of investigation, scientists, doctors and government officials have been unable to determine the cause of the injuries, which some speculate are the result of microwave or other types of attacks by a foreign force. Russia is most commonly accused of being behind the alleged attacks, although there is no evidence to support such claims.


The mysterious injuries were first reported among staff at the US Embassy in Havana, Cuba, in late 2016 and have since spread to nearly 70 countries on every continent except Antarctica. The number of reports has fallen dramatically since the beginning of this year.

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https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/06/23/state-dept-to-pay-6-figure-sums-to-havana-syndrome-victims/ State Department pays six-figure sums to victims of Havana Syndrome

Sarah Y. Kim

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