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Embassy personnel in Cuba probably poisoned by synthetic coolant

Embassy personnel in Cuba probably poisoned by synthetic coolant


Architects and Civil Engineers are trained to simultaneously analyze thousands of variables in a structure in order to assure the safety of its occupants.  Their exclusion from the federal government investigation into the strange health problems, which afflicted Havana embassy personnel, turned the situation into a political propaganda game.  The US Department of State ignored input from professional architects and engineers about the obvious cause of the illnesses among their personnel. So therefore, I am publishing my letter to the State Department on LinkedIn and the People of One Fire. 

Someone should have paid attention to my letter

One would think that when the U. S. Department of State had funded a special multi-agency task force to determine the cause of severe health problems among embassy personnel in Havana, Cuba, they would welcome information from any experienced professional on the matter.  They didn’t.  Several mechanical engineers, civil engineers and at least one architect (me) were rebuffed by the politically motivated bureaucrats involved.  I am a Registered Architect with 8 years of college, including six years at Georgia Tech, 46 years of professional experience and 10 international, national or state architectural awards.  I wrote the task force that both the previous owner of this house and myself had exactly the same symptoms and it had been traced to a widely sold synthetic coolant that had NEVER been tested by the FDA, but was known to be extremely toxic to animals.

No one at the US State Department ever responded to my letter, but I waited to read the final report of the task force before going public.   There was no mention of refrigerant poisoning as a possible cause of the embassy staff health problems, even though any investigator should have been aware of the similarity of symptoms.  There was merely a statement that “mechanical and electrical systems were found to be functioning normally.”  Well, no . . . all one would have to do is unscrew a valve to poison the occupants and then tighten it later.    Synthetic freon is chemically similar to propane gas . . . including being highly flammable . . . and the gas in warm temperatures either dissipates or chemically breaks down.

You see, freon is not carcinogenic or generally toxic to humans, but most of the new synthetic freons are definitely toxic and NEVER been tested by government agencies for carcinogenic effects.  The public assumed that they were safe alternatives to freon, which would be far less harmful to the environment.  The synthetic freons are now being mass distributed in retail stores such as Walmart.  Since the federal government has never officially classified them as toxic, the manufacturers are not required to tell you of their extremely dangerous effects, if inhaled.


The previous occupant of my house was a retired widow, who was described by neighbors as “having strange problems with her head and body.”  She was chronically fatigued and would have periods when her sense of balance was so impaired that she could not leave her bed.  She went through most of her and her late husband’s retirement savings paying doctor’s bills, which produced no cure.  Eventually, she was so impoverished by America’s “great” healthcare system that she couldn’t make repairs to the house or pay the utility bills.  At that point, she abandoned the house and moved to another part of the country.

The house stayed on the market for 3 ½ years because most realtors assumed that it would have to be torn down and mortgage companies would not issue a loan on it.  At the time I bought the house last May, it was the least expensive “real” house in North Georgia.

I came to this house with a lot of health problems due to a dead animal being dropped in my well shaft,  a horrific rat infestation and a mold infestation after a tornado blew the roof off the rental cabin in March 2017 and the owner didn’t repair the roof properly.  However, I quickly began feeling much better after moving here and got a lot accomplished in its repair.  Soon the bumps that were all over my body, disappeared.

I paid for the HVAC company that had serviced the heat pump system for the elderly lady, to check it out, since the house had been unoccupied for over three years.  The serviceman said that he had always had to add a few pounds of synthetic coolant at the end of each season, but once he filled up the unit for me, it ran perfectly.  He told me that he checked the evaporator coils in the house and saw no leaks.  I had no idea that coolant was leaking into the house.  Normally leaks occur outside at the compressor or in the heating coil. The toxic gasses drift away, unnoticed.  Refrigerant coolants are invisible, odorless and tasteless.  When exposed to heat in open air, they breakdown chemically.   They make a perfect poison . . . if that is what someone desires.

In July 2018, I began running the air conditioner in the afternoon.  My energy level declined precipitously. Being on the brow of a mountain, cooling was rarely needed at night or in the morning.  Once the air conditioning was being used again, I became increasingly fatigued. My stomach swelled like a balloon from water retention.  On several occasions I fell asleep sitting in a chair in the day time, while working on the computer.  However, I would feel better at night, when the windows were open.  On two occasions, I suddenly lost my balance and fell flat on my face – once on a concrete slab and then on a tree stump. In both occasions there were bad injuries to my head. However, all these symptoms went away when I the air conditioning was no longer needed.

When I began turning on the heat pump at night, all the strange symptoms that were described by the US State Department letter appeared with a vengeance – much worse than during the summer.  When I laid down in the bed, my body would feel like it was a spinning top.  I could not sleep deeply and awoke each morning weak.  I tied a rope to a door knob so that I could pull myself up out of bed.

Applying the logical analysis that was taught me at Georgia Tech, I zeroed in on the leaking coolant as the culprit.   I dipped into a retirement account and bought a Buck Wood Stove.  I had been Buck Stove’s architectural consultant in Asheville.  As soon as the Buck Stove was installed, all the weird symptoms disappeared . . .  except for two days when my firewood was too wet to burn.  If I run the heat pump at night, my inner ears are bonkers in the morning.

Who Dunit?

I have no idea who or what was responsible for exposing our State Department personnel to toxic coolants.  It could be intentionally or unintentionally installed flaws in cooling systems. It could be an inept American contractor, who got the job because of political donations. It could be crazy Satanists or Anarchists, who want to create mayhem.  It could be crazy Cuban Communists, who feared normalization of relations with the United States.  It could be crazy American Nazis, who wanted to embarrass the Obama Administration.  

It appears that the investigation of the health problems among State Department employees in Havana was headed by FBI and CIA personnel. It was treated as a conventional criminal investigation.  CDC personnel were involved, but they were steered toward the identification of microbes. This might be a case of criminal activity or politically motivated sabotage, and might not, but the fact that the disease symptoms were associated with the occupation of certain buildings should have sent up warning flags.

The investigation should have been headed by design professionals, who are intimately familiar with the construction and operation of buildings . . . not crime busters, CIA intelligence agents or political hacks.  Hopefully, permanent damage between Cuba and the United States has not occurred.  Even the Castro Brothers ultimately realized that Communism does not work over the long haul.   They merely exchanged the Cuban people being the serfs of American organized crime cartels to being the serfs of the Soviet Union . . .  and now, without the subsidies of the Soviet Union . . .  are trapped in dysfunctional economic and political systems.


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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history. Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.



    Hello there Richard,
    Glad you have solved the health riddle, are burning wood and feeling better. (It’s the best heat anyway other than wonderful sunlight.)
    Wishing you a wonderful Christmas season !


    Richard, I’ve yet heard a statement from any political leader or high ranking officer explain how so much toxic water got under military post/bases and how that was overlooked for so long.
    I do believe in UFO’s….and it’s true Pyramids do focus electromagnetic energy just above them. What’s on that dollar…. a glowing triangle UFO ? Somebody’s been keeping secrets for some time. The grey eyed Ancients must still be around?


    Marry Christmas!! Richard…Thanks for sharing your Wisdom.

    • I would be happy to marry Christmas, if she is spiritual, intelligent and reasonably fit . . . and if I knew her first name!


        Pardon the type o! “Merry Christmas!!!”

        • No problem! I couldn’t resist to throw in a bit of humor!


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