It is said that politics is always complicated. However, they can take a switch from heated debates to strange hands of fate.
According to the Associated Press, several Canadian diplomats in Cuba suffered several unusual symptoms, including hearing loss.
These symptoms were later confirmed of being the result of an ‘acoustic attack’ via sonic devices. Several U.S. diplomats suffered similar symptoms, one of which is now required to wear a hearing aid.
Although the investigation has yet to reach its full conclusions, demonstrations of outlandish disruptions on diplomacy are nothing new.
Election Day and Diplomatic Deaths
More than eight Russian diplomats died following Donald Trump’s first few months in the White House. Mentioning Trump already marks this strange occurrence as mere coincidence. That is until you find out the circumstances of their deaths. One of these diplomats, Sergei Krivov, died after falling off a consulate building. However, his cause of death was later changed by reports concluding a heart attack. Then, of course, it was questioned whether he had suffered a head wound.
Other cases were shrouded in a cloud of mystery as well, with many dying from gunshot wounds and heart attacks. Russian ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, collapsed at work due to a heart attack. Once again though, there were no reports that suggested Churkin was in failing health.
Again, this was later changed and questioned in several directions concerning the circumstances of his death. Tinfoil-hat crazy as it sounds, the deaths of these diplomats within an eight-month period is probably purely coincidental. Then again, a number of the circumstances of their deaths are still bizarre in their own right.
Driving Like a Diplomat
With that out of the way, let’s now talk about diplomatic immunity. Contrary to its popular entertainment portrayal in “Lethal Weapon 2,” diplomatic immunity is not about being able to commit crimes without consequence. By its definition, diplomatic immunity is meant to give diplomats safe passage in other countries without being susceptible to lawsuits or prosecution under a host country’s laws.
However, diplomats can still be expelled for breaking said laws. With this in mind, there can be plenty of ways the law can be abused, like never paying parking tickets.
As long as drivers have diplomatic plates, any form of illegal parking can be done, which is bad news for every driver that has to deal with it and worse for countries that have to pay them. Last year, diplomats representing several foreign powers owed the city of Canberra, Australia more than $500,000 in mostly unpaid parking tickets.
New York City tops this with a combined bill issued to several UN diplomats amounting to more than $16 million. Of course, this issue is cumbersome considering the immunity grants protection from tax and prosecution for these tickets. Although some improvements have been made to address in what appears to be a growing problem, it is silly knowing diplomats not only represent many nations, but the worst driving habits.
Something Phony is Going On
Another great example of diplomatic immunity comes in the form of major cellphone robbery. Rafael Quintero Curiel served as the lead press advance person for the Mexican delegation. He also became suspect number one in a cellphone heist.
In 2008, Curiel stole about six or seven devices from a table at the White House. At the time, the delegation was meeting then-President Bush. During this high-level meeting, all phones were required to be held at the table. After the meeting, the phones were, of course, no longer to be found. Security cameras showed Curiel taking the phones and leaving the White House. He was caught right before his flight and denied any involvement until he saw the video footage and claimed it was an accident.
Returning the phones, he was able to leave the country thanks to his diplomatic immunity. Both strange and mysterious – Curiel got away without a real explanation as to why he had taken the phones in the first place.
From sound strikes to ticket hikes, always expect diplomatic tomfoolery in the weird world of politics.