For several months, we’ve been speculating about the source of the “sonic attack” on U.S. diplomats in Cuba.
Who did it? Nobody knows the answer, but the “Mystery of sonic weapon attacks at U.S. embassy in Cuba deepens” as we read a few days ago:
The Trump administration still hasn’t identified a culprit or a device to explain the attacks, according to interviews with more than a dozen current and former U.S. officials, Cuban officials,and others briefed on the investigation.
Most weren’t authorized to discuss the probe and demanded anonymity.
In fact, almost nothing about what went down in Havana is clear. Investigators have tested several theories about an intentional attack: by Cuba’s government, a rogue faction of its security forces, a third country like Russia or some combination thereof.
Yet they’ve left open the possibility an advanced espionage operation went horribly awry, or that some other, less nefarious explanation is to blame.
Aside from their homes, officials said Americans were attacked in at least one hotel, a fact not previously disclosed.
An incident occurred on an upper floor of the recently renovated Hotel Capri, a 60-year-old concrete tower steps from the Malecon, Havana’s iconic, waterside promenade.
The cases vary deeply: different symptoms, different recollections of what happened.
So who did it? We don’t know for sure, but it had to be a very sophisticated organization that knew what rooms to attack.
They had to know a lot about the whereabouts of U.S. diplomats.
Also, these fancy hotels are joint ventures with the Cuban government.
Was it another country like North Korea or Russia? It could be. The old USSR had a huge intelligence base in Cuba. Russian ships now visit Cuba often.
Could it be the Cuban government trying to spy on U.S. diplomats? It could be, but that would be rather dangerous given the health consequences we’ve seen. The Cuban government would lose a lot of political support in the U.S. by engaging in those tactics.
So what happened?
Let me introduce you to my late paternal grandmother. She was born in Cuba in 1892 when the island was still a Spanish colony. She would always show everyone her birth certificate indicating that she was born in a Spanish colony, as Cuba was before the Spanish American War of 1898. She was an amazing woman who had three sons in her late 30s, rather unique for her times.
My grandmother was a huge history fan. She was our Cuban history teacher when we were growing up in the U.S. I was always so impressed how she could remember everything about pre-Castro history.
Now let’s “Remember the Maine“, the U.S. Navy ship that blew up in Havana harbor in 1898 and led to the Spanish American War.
As you may remember, Spain lost Cuba because of that conflict, and the island became independent in 1902.
My grandmother always told me that the Maine was an inside job, or sabotage by Cuban independence rebels to force a fight between the U.S. and Spain. It was a popular theory back then. (In 1976, an inquiry concluded that it was “likely” an accident.)
What would my grandmother say about “the sonic attack”? I think that she would way say that it was an inside job to oust Castro.
After all, who would know about the hotel rooms and the capabilities of Cuba’s intelligence network?
Who could pull off something like this without getting noticed by the Cuban government?
Who would want to hurt U.S. diplomats and have Castro get the blame?
Was the “sonic attack” an inside job to force the U.S. to change its policy toward Cuba? To slow down the engagement? To force U.S. tourists to stop travelling to Cuba? To make U.S. businesses think twice about exposing their executives to Cuba?
Prior to the attacks, everything was moving in the direction of more U.S. economic involvement in Cuba. After the attacks, U.S.-Cuba relations have soured, and that’s an economic blow to Castro.
Again, I don’t know. However, who else but elements inside the Cuban government could pull this off? Maybe this is a clever inside coup?
Maybe it’s a crazy idea but does anyone have a better explanation?
“Remember the Maine“? Maybe someday we will say “Remember the embassy”!