January 30, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario – Global Affairs Canada
The health, safety and security of our diplomatic staff and their families remain our priority. The Canadian government continues to investigate the potential causes of the unusual health symptoms experienced by some Canadian diplomatic staff and their family members posted in Havana, Cuba. To date, no cause has been identified.
Following the last confirmed case of unusual health symptoms in November 2018, a number of Canadian diplomatic staff posted to Havana underwent additional medical testing. These tests confirm that an additional employee has symptoms consistent with those of previously affected employees. This brings the total number of affected Canadian employees, spouses and dependents to 14. All affected people will continue to receive medical attention, as required.
In addition to revised security measures already initiated by the Canadian government, we have decided to reduce by up to half the number of Canadian staff posted to Havana.
Canada will continue to have an embassy in Havana, Cuba, headed by an ambassador. Full consular services will be available to Canadians in Cuba. However, some other programs may be adjusted in the coming weeks.
There is no evidence that Canadian travellers to Cuba are at risk. Canadian travellers should continue to consult the Government of Canada’s Travel Advice and Advisories for the latest updates. Consular assistance continues to be provided from Havana, Varadero and Guardalavaca.
Canada has a positive and constructive relationship with Cuba. We have had close cooperation with the Cuban authorities since the health concerns of our employees posted in Havana first surfaced in the spring of 2017.