HAVANA (CBSMiami) – One of the 22 Americans injured by unexplained attacks in Cuba told CBS News the U.S. response was handled “poorly.”
The victim said their complaints were ignored by senior embassy leadership and top officials at the State Department in Washington for months.
The person claims the State Department pressured some U.S. embassy officials injured by the attacks to remain on the island, and waited to too long to withdraw non-essential staff and all families from Havana on September 29.
“Why did it take so long to draw down, to get spouses and children out of there?” the individual who suffered the attack wondered. “I don’t know how they can justify leaving anyone down there right now, from a safety perspective.”
The victim, who was not authorized to talk to reporters, also criticized the initial treatment to victims offered by doctors at the University Of Miami. Victims are now being treated by neurologists at the University of Pennsylvania after complaining about headaches, an inability to recall common words and phrases, hearing loss, vision problems and other health issues.
The University of Miami’s school of medicine declined to comment. The University of Pennsylvania Health System referred CBS News to the State Department’s Western Hemisphere Affairs Bureau of Public Affairs.
“If it can happen in our homes, if it can happen at the embassy, it can happen anywhere,” the victim said.
The State Department insists it has taken the incidents seriously.
“Our focus from the beginning of these incidents has been on the health and well-being of our personnel,” a State Department spokesperson for Western Hemisphere Affairs told CBS News. “They remain our priority.”