It has only been a few years since the American Embassy in Cuba was reopened and work began there again after being closed down since January of 1961. The relations of the two countries, specifically after the country of Cuba was taken in the Cuban revolution, broke apart. Outside of Guantanamo Bay military base, The United States did not have much to do with the country.
But in August of 2015, things had cooled enough that then-President Barak Obama, relations with Cuba were in a good enough place that the embassy would be reopened again.
Things, however, did not go smoothly. In 2017 reports began to come in that the diplomats and members of their families were starting to get sick. These people were reporting issues with memory, concentration, balance, eyesight, hearing, sleeping or headaches. It was eventually called “Havana Syndrome.” Bouts of these health issues could last up to three months at a time. Three people ended up getting hearing aids for noticeable hearing loss and more had effects of Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears.
The U.S. looked into it and it became a big problem for those now living in Cuba. The United States was quick to say it didn’t appear to be caused by Cubans themselves, but there seemed to be something causing these “acoustic attacks”. There were stories of sounds of “grinding metal” and “piercing squeals” as the Diplomats has reported.
But now, the U.S. Government may have found an answer. One theory is that the sounds are coming from Anurogryllus celerinictus, or more commonly know, the Indies Short Tailed Cricket.
Scientists have said that the sound produced by the crickets match the previous recordings of the attacks “in nuanced detail, the AP recording in duration, pulse repetition rate, power spectrum, pulse rate stability, and oscillations per pulse.”
It is theorized that the “acoustic attacks” are the mating calls of the Cricket. The little bugs were first discovered in 1970 and are native to the lower Florida area as well as the islands in the Carribean, including Cuba.
It is said the scientists had a hard time identifying the noise and much of their recordings were done indoors in a studio, but when they took things outside and more the in cricket’s native environment, a lot of progress was made.
The idea of the crickets causing the fuss was actually proposed in 2017 but was dismissed by the American government for some unknown reason. With this news, it is very possible that the cricket was the cause of the issues. No legal accusations have been filed as of yet by any of the Diplomats who suffered medical damage from the cricket’s chirps.
There is also the problems of what you are going to do about them. Nothing has been reported or planned as of yet. One idea is to just get some bug killer and go to town on them, but that could cause a lot of problems with people of the more natural lifestyle and cause all kinds of issues here in the United States. Introducing a new species to Cuba might also run into some problems as well as who knows how they would spread and multiply. If you really wanted to look at it, how much does to local ecosystem depend on the crickets? Even though the problem seems to have an answer, there are still a lot of questions lingering about what to do about them. This may be a problem for a while more until an answer can be found that doesn’t do more damage than the crickets themselves.
No matter how this ends up, the tail of the Indies Short Tail Cricket could live on as one of those weird stories in history.