China’s Spy Base in Cuba?

On the heels of China’s weather/spy balloon downed by a US F-22 comes a report of the construction of a Chinese listening post in Cuba. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., supports the Biden administration’s claim that China is setting up a spy station in Cuba. Gaetz calls it a “stationary aircraft carrier right off the coast of Florida.”

That is pretty rich given that the US is arming Taiwan (which the present US administration confirms is a province of the People’s Republic of China), and certainly Taiwan’s location makes an excellently situated listening post for the CIA. Thus it appears more so, using Gaetz’s analogy, that Taiwan is being made to serve as a stationary US aircraft carrier right off the coast of Fujian. Nonetheless, China’s presence in Cuba does not violate American sovereignty. Contrariwise, the US’s meddling in Taiwan is viewed as objectionable and provocative by Beijing.

And where is the evidence for Gaetz’s claim?

Western media asked Wang Wenbin, spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for comment on 9 June 2023:

AFP: Reports by US media outlets say that China and Cuba have agreed to set up a Chinese spy facility capable of monitoring communications across the southeastern part of the US. Officials in Washington and Havana have said these reports are not accurate. Does the Chinese foreign ministry have a comment?

Wang Wenbin: I am not aware of what you mentioned. It is well known that the US is an expert on chasing shadows and meddling in other countries’ internal affairs. The US is the global champion of hacking and superpower of surveillance. The US has long illegally occupied Cuba’s Guantánamo Bay for secretive activities and imposed a blockade on Cuba for over 60 years. The US needs to take a hard look at itself, stop interfering in Cuba’s internal affairs under the pretext of freedom, democracy and human rights, immediately lift its economic, commercial and financial blockade on Cuba, and act in ways conducive to improving relations with Cuba and regional peace and stability, not otherwise.

And again on 13 June 2023:

Prensa Latina: Although China and Cuba denied the recent reports, the US government said over the weekend that it had information about this alleged spy center that they say China has been operating in Cuba. What is your comment about it?

Wang Wenbin: I made clear China’s position on this last week. Over the past few days, we have seen self-conflicting comments from US officials and media on the so-called allegation of China building “spy facilities” in Cuba. This is another example of “the US negating the US.”

What is true can never be false, and what is false can never be true. No matter how the US tries with slanders and smears, it will not succeed in driving a wedge between two true friends, China and Cuba, nor can it cover up its deplorable track record of indiscriminate mass spying around the world.

Thus, Gaetz has once again revealed the absurdity/mendacity of American politicians. Besides, what does it matter if China is building a listening post in Cuba? Is there any country on the planet that believes that the US is not spying on them? What is it that the Five Eyes are doing? What are all those eyes in the sky doing? Do US embassies and consulates not function as intelligence gathering bases? The US collects intelligence on friends and foes alike.

It even surveilles its own citizens. Don’t Americans know this? That is why Edward Snowden faces arrest should he return home. It is a moral contradiction that a whistleblower who exposes government illegality would be arrested by that same government for exposing its illegal actions.

This plays into another US narrative of the Threat of China. (See Paolo Urio, America and the China Threat: From the End of History to the End of Empire, 2022. Review.) Fox News cites an unnamed Biden administration official on the awareness

of a “number of” efforts by the People’s Republic of China “around the world to expand its overseas logistics, basing, and collection infrastructure.” These outposts would allow the People’s Liberation Army “to project and sustain military power at a greater distance.”

That is the rules-based order writ large. The US can do whatever it pleases. It can build military bases around the world and listen in on whoever it wants. But there are rules for the rest of the world to obey.

What does Gaetz propose doing? He supports “an Authorization for Use of Military Force to take out the Chinese assets in Cuba.”

Is this what American citizens need now, another war with a powerful country their government chooses to regard as an adversary — all this while the US and its NATO minions are going down to ignominious defeat in Ukraine?

Kim Petersen is an independent writer. He can be emailed at: kimohp at Read other articles by Kim.