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

U.S. immigrant visas to Cubans down by 31 percent

The U.S. Embassy in Havana issued just 29 immigrant visas in fiscal year 2018, which ended on Sept. 30. That was little more than one-quarter percent of the 9,752 visas issued the previous year, a State Department report shows. The number of immigrant visas issued in Guyana jumped from 4,096 to 7,672 as thousands of … Read more