Escalating Chinese espionage in Cuba sparks alarm in the US

WASHINGTON — China has increased its spying capabilities in Cuba, This could allow Beijing to capture sensitive US military data, according to a study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), which claims to be based on satellite images.

According to Washington-based CSIS, the site, equipped with a powerful network of antennas, has been under construction since 2021 near the city. Santiago de Cuba (east), not far from the US naval base in Guantanamo.

The center analyzed satellite images of four sites in Cuba, two of which contain space surveillance equipment even though the communist-run island has no satellites or space program of its own.

These capabilities “are likely intended to monitor the activities of other nations,” it said in a report released Monday.

The Cuban regime denied this discovery, which was made public by the Wall Street Journal.

“The Wall Street Journal continues to launch an intimidation campaign related to #Cuba,” said Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Carlos Fernández de Cossío on the social network X.

“Without citing a verifiable source or showing evidence, he seeks to frighten the public with legends about Chinese military bases that do not exist and no one has seen, including the US embassy in Cuba,” wrote the Castro regime official.

Intelligence unit

Last year, U.S. officials said China has been operating an intelligence unit in Cuba for years and upgraded it in 2019.

Asked about the latest report, Pentagon spokesman Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said: “We know that (China) is going to continue to try to enhance its presence in Cuba.”

“So we continue to monitor this closely, taking countermeasures,” he told reporters.

The report says China, through its equipment in Cuba, could also better track its own satellites, since it maintains ground stations in much of the world but not in North America.

Cuba, located just 145 kilometers from the state of Florida, has had a tense relationship with Washington since the establishment of the communist regime by Fidel Castro in 1959.

Washington and Moscow came to the brink of nuclear war in 1962 after the United States discovered that Soviet nuclear missile sites were being built on the island.

Cuba, China’s satellite

Florida Republican Congressman Carlos Giménez denounced the presence of “espionage bases” linked to China established in Cuba and urged the Joe Biden administration to apply the full weight of sanctions to the island and the Asian country.

The lawmaker said the Cuban regime has become virtually “a satellite state of communist China with military installations spread across the island nation’s coast.”

“New satellite images show the growth of spy bases linked to communist China in Castro’s Cuba, just 90 miles from our shores,” he said.

A threat to the US

Giménez was categorical in stating that the growth of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) capabilities in the region represents a threat to the U.S. territory, “directly, to our community in South Florida.”

At the same time, Gimenez stressed that these military spy bases are intended to enhance the Chinese Communist Party’s ability to monitor American citizens and intelligence agencies, which represents a direct threat to voters and millions of citizens across the country. “The Cuban regime has become a proxy for the CCP,” he wrote.

Biden’s lack of leadership

Gimenez said that the increased growth and influence of communist China in the hemisphere is reflected in the construction of a megaport in Peru and the dispatch of nuclear-powered submarines to the port of Havana by Russia.

“These are growing signs of President Biden’s lack of leadership and his inability to protect our nation,” said the lawmaker, who also criticized the Biden administration’s lack of action in the face of the “undermining” of Chinese communism in the United States, an aggression that he believes “must be confronted with force.”

“Anti-American adversaries are proactively undermining the United States by establishing bases for espionage and cyberattacks. A growing threat just minutes from our continental territory,” he stressed.

Finally, he urged the Biden administration to counter the use of Cuba as a Chinese satellite state in the Western Hemisphere and designate sanctions to prevent the expansion of the Chinese and Cuban communist regimes.