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WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department is preparing to compensate victims of mysterious brain injuries colloquially known as “Havana syndrome” with six-figure payouts, 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 personnel in Cuba in 2016 will receive payments of approximately $100,000 to $200,000 each, officials and the aide said.

Specific amounts will be determined based on the extent and severity of victims’ injuries, which include brain damage not limited to dizziness, cognitive damage, sight and hearing problems, according to officials and aides.

Payments will apply only to victims employed by the Department of State and their dependents. The other victims will have their compensation managed by the federal agency that employed them. About 20% of the total number of victims are or were employed by the State Department. Almost all of the others were employed by the CIA or the Department of Defense, which have their own medical policies.

The officials and aide spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the scheduled release next week of the State Department’s plan to compensate victims under 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 only become final after a 30-day period during which public comment will be sought. The Department of State, along with the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management, will consider the comments before issuing a final rule.

The State Department declined to discuss proposed payment amounts on Thursday, but noted that HAVANA law authorizes it “to make payments to personnel for certain eligible brain injuries” and requires it to publish its plans for implement such relief, he said. would arrive “soon”.

Despite nearly six years of investigation, scientists, doctors and government officials have been unable to determine the cause of the injuries, which some believe were the result of microwaves or other types attacks from a foreign power. Russia is most often blamed for being behind the alleged attacks, although there is no evidence to support these claims.

The mysterious injuries first began being reported among staff at the United States Embassy in Havana, Cuba, in late 2016 and have since spread to nearly 70 countries on every continent, including exception of Antarctica. The number of reports has decreased considerably since the beginning of this year.



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