Sonic Attacks in Cuba: We’ve All Been Affected

Veronica Vega

The last mystery. Illustration: Yasser Castellanos

HAVANA TIMES – The article published in Havana Times “Sonic Attacks: Cubans don’t take them sitting down“, by Michael Ritchie, reminded me of an article I read two days ago titled: Anne Frank Halloween Costume Sparks Internet Controversy.

In the photo, a smiling girl was posing with her simple dress and beret that identify the protagonist of an awful story. I remembered a book I had seen a few years ago. A compilation of texts and drawings made by children while they were in concentration camps. All of the words and pictures expressed a stifling dread mixed with the candor of childhood. I couldn’t read more than the first few pages. Does this girl “dressed up” as Anne know what fascism is? I asked myself.

The article about the sonic attacks in Cuba against US diplomats produced a similar effect in me. I was seriously doubting whether the author knew what it means to “have permanent hearing loss, migraines, fatigue, insomnia, cognitive impairments, among other illness…” Anyone who suddenly experiences something like this, and for no reason whatsoever, won’t want this to be mixed with with bathrooms or toilet seats or want Che included.

There’s no need to ridicule the pain of the victims that have been confirmed by doctors, or even the likelihood, even if it is to deny fault or just the Cuban government’s negligence.

There’s no need to ridicule the fact that once again it’s us Cubans that are in the middle of this new and strange war. Suffering the consequences of what is decided without our thoughts being taken into account and much less our consent.

Ordinary Cubans, indifferent to anything that doesn’t involve easing their struggle to survive, are hardly talking about this scabrous subject which we only have a partial account of that is peppered with extremism. If the government calls upon them to voice its alleged innocence in front of the US embassy, they will do this without a doubt, even if these ordinary Cubans then sabotage slogans, like when students were forced to go and demand that the boy Elian Gonzalez be returned. Protected by the commotion they shouted: Elian, take me to the US! Choosing to forget that families have been torn part by this sea and even the bodies lost in this abyss of water that an inefficient policy made insurmountable.

Here, we face misfortunes with bravado. And this is the reason why we have such a dysfunctional society. Jokes hide our frustation and fears, replacing protests and solutions.

Doubting the story of these sonic attacks and saying that they seem like something straight out of a science fiction novel. Intriguing, bordering on the absurd, captivating. And a foggy plot that couldn’t have a more complicated stage: countries that have had a tense relationship for a long time, who are extremely close to each other and hostility on both sides.

But we should get serious and recognize that, although the motives and weapon of these alleged “attacks/incidents” haven’t been identified, the health effects and the places where the abnormalities took place in the victims are real. That the Cuban government has failed to comply with the Vienna Convention, the international agreement that regulates diplomatic relations between countries and expresses the immunity of diplomats, as 22 diplomatic officials have been injured in our national territory.

Now, mutual stubbornness, ambiguity and opposition have given way to the plague. A tourist from South Carolina asked himself whether he too should be included on the list of those affected. He interrupted his trip to Cuba because he suddenly lost feeling in all four limbs just minutes after laying down in bed at the Capri hotel. The same place where Washington employees were staying. This rare illness lasted for months and confounded dozens of neurologists. When the news spread about the “sonic attacks”, his friends call him to ask whether he too had been a victim.

Cuba insists on denying its participation in these alleged attacks. But, it offered to collaborate in the investigation from the beginning. Doesn’t this mean that it accepts these incidents are real? And if that’s the case, does that mean that it also accepts that it was also vulnerable to the actions of a third country? Which tacitly means they accept their failure to protect diplomatic personnel?

Why then is the information that the Cuban people are receiving on the matter the worn-out rhetoric of imperialism-related lies, manipulation and reprisals? Why isn’t there a single and coherent argument?

Why aren’t these incidents being treated in a delicate and objective manner? For the first time in history the government admits having failed to fulfill its duty and to take concrete steps so that the US embassy by the sea no longer evokes terror.  And do the same for Cubans who are waiting for their permanent visas or residence papers, so that officials, their relatives, or tourists who aspire for something as simple as not suffering future neurological aftershocks because they have stepped foot on this surreal island.

Veronica Vega

Veronica Vega: I believe that truth has power and the word can and should be an extension of the truth. I think that is also the role of Art and the media. I consider myself an artist, but above all, a seeker and defender of the Truth as an essential element of what sustains human existence and consciousness. I believe that Cuba can and must change and that websites like Havana Times contribute to that necessary change.

5 thoughts on “Sonic Attacks in Cuba: We’ve All Been Affected

  • Certainly one option to consider is that the pain and suffering of the US diplomates is real, but the incident that caused this suffering was actually caused by the US as a pretext to roll back the normalization of relations that occurred under Obama.

    Yes, it seems strange. Would elements in the US actually harm their own citizens to achieve some political goal? Sadly history says yes.

    Some within the US press have investigated this matter and the most renown acoustic engineers say that no such sonic weapon exists. Could the harm have been from another source?

    American companies have experimented with sound devices for crowd control. Up to now they have been based on very loud, high pitched sounds that cause excruciating pain. Could one of these have been modified to use sound waves below normal hearing, but just as powerful?

    We don’t know, but this didn’t stop the Trump administration from withdrawing our diplomas and expelling a number of Cubans. The result is that normal visa processing, a significant feature of normalization has been curtailed because of lack of staff.

    Progressive forces in the US are just beginning to experience a crack down from this administration. Nothing would surprise me. Even using our own diplomats as guinea pigs.

  • Being the helpless target of vicious, criminal (but deniable) energy weapon attacks is the long-time complaint of too many of the tens of thousands of *internal* victims of U.S./NATO Imperialist spookery. So the VERY moment I heard of this particular incident in Havana, my impression was: *someone was attacking the attackers* (actually some of their Cuba-based agents, for ‘Reasons Unknown’) — with the obvious intent of immediately throwing the U.S. Polity off the scent, by having the usual morons in Washington instantly screaming about ‘cuban aggression’, yadda. i.e. — the usual crap.

    Nothing I’ve heard since has changed my initial take on this bizarre (but growingly common sort of) incident. Expect more.

  • Veronica dear,
    Because Cuban officials volunteered full cooperation with the U.S. gov’t in an investigation into alleged “attacks” in no way means that they “accept that these incidents are real,” as you suggest. Rather it means that despite the increasingly obvious absurdity of the allegations, in striving to adhere to its Geneva Convention obligations, the Cuban gov’t made every effort to find a culprit, Cuban or otherwise– even if none exists.

    Further you suggest that “the victims are real.” Really? Have you met one? I haven’t. Nor has any Cuban investigator or official. Yet I am supposed to have pity for their phantom illnesses. Show me hospital records, physical evidence, and I’ll think about it.

    Your Anne Frank costume reference defines your critique. It’s typical of far-left liberalism which has consumed the U.S. moral agenda– the sort of liberalism which I hope and pray never reaches Cuban shores, though I fear it has already arrived with the cruise ships.

    As for my little article itself, it’s a piece of fluff– an attempt to lighten the mood of the whole “acoustic attacks” matter. Nothing more, nothing less.

    I leave you with this, and wish you well:


    use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize
    people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary
    politics and other topical issues.

  • If these events are real, why won’t the US share any data, won’t allow victims to be identified, etc.? It’s just another inept attempt to discredit Cuba, to destroy its tourism revenue source and heighten tensions in the Cuban population by making visas almost impossible to obtain. The US has a looong tradition of dirty tricks as can again be shown in this week’s release of some of the JFK assassination files.

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