Cuban scientists meet U.S. officials, dismiss health attacks
A group of Cuban scientists and doctors, hosted by their country’s foreign ministry in Washington, met with U.S. officials Thursday, as they tried to cast doubt on the attacks the State Department says injured 26 American diplomats and their family members in Havana.
At a news conference at the Cuban embassy, the doctors dismissed the attacks– complaining that the U.S. has failed to cooperate with investigators in Cuba and has offered no proof of the incidents.
The Cuban delegation said it was “disappointed” it did not receive more information on the reported injuries and symptoms during a meeting with the State Department.
Correspondent Steve Dorsey, who first broke the story of the mysteriously injured diplomats on CBS News Radio on August 9, 2017, was blocked from entering the news conference. An embassy spokeswoman declined to include him on a guest list for the event hours earlier, and he was turned away from the embassy’s front gate. A CBS News producer and photojournalist were allowed into the news conference.
The scientists refuted medical evaluations from U.S. doctors showing some victims with mild traumatic brain injuries.
The injuries were “probably due to preexisting conditions,” general director of the Cuban Center for Neurosciences Dr. Mitchell Joseph Valdes-Sosa said.
But U.S. officials say the injuries are very real — with symptoms including cognitive issues and hearing loss.
While the U.S. hasn’t publicly blamed anyone for the attacks nor did it announce any finding about the cause the injuries, the State Department says it’s holding Cuba responsible for the safety of its diplomats.
The attacks began in late 2016 and have continued through June.
“We remain concerned. We are not convinced that the attacks on our embassy have ceased entirely,” Assistant Secretary of State Manisha Singh said during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing Thursday.
A similar case was reported in China in May, but it’s not clear if it was linked to the incidents in Cuba.
Kylie Atwood contributed to this report.
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