Public diplomacy or interference?

The U.S. Embassy in Havana plans to award grants to NGOs, institutions and individuals that would strengthen Cuba’s independent civil society’s “professional ties” with the United States. The embassy stated: The Embassy has particular interest in projects that highlight democratic values and increased access to information, benefit underserved populations, promote entrepreneurial skills development, and promote … Read more

Scientists: Acoustic episodes could be bizarre accident

“Acoustic interference without malicious intent” could have caused brain injuries to American diplomats in Havana, according to a study published earlier this year. Under one possible scenario, a covert ultrasonic eavesdropping device could have interfered with an ultrasonic jamming device, creating the “strange metallic sounds” that caused injury. Ultrasonic signals are not audible, but can … Read more

Havana beats the South Pole

State Department employees sent on temporary assignments to Havana are given a $316 daily allowance for lodging, meals and incidentals. The daily allowance, known as a per diem, ranges from $149 to $244 outside the capital. The latest federal guidelines show the rates for 895 cities. The top three were Valencia, Spain; $729; Edinburg, Scotland, … Read more

Report on “directional phenomena” inconclusive

An investigation published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 40 people who worked at the U.S. Embassy in Havana experienced a loss in white brain matter. Authors of the 12-page study, called “Neuroimaging Findings in US Government Personnel With Possible Exposure to Directional Phenomena in Cuba,” said the cause of … Read more

U.S. employees rake in big bucks for “hardship” in Havana

U.S. government employees assigned to Havana get an automatic 35 percent bump in salary. It’s known as a “hardship differential,” and it’s given to employees only when their foreign posting “involves extraordinarily difficult living conditions, excessive physical hardship, or notably unhealthful conditions affecting the majority of employees officially stationed or detailed at that place.” American … Read more