Cuban official condemns Wall Street Journal’s claim about Chinese base as “unfounded”

The US-based media outlet published an “exclusive” report alleging that Cuba and China had reached a “secret” agreement to build a spying base on the island

June 08, 2023 by Peoples Dispatch
Carlos F. Cossío addressed press on June 8 to address the allegations made in the Wall Street Journal. Photo: Luis de Jesús

Cuba’s Vice Foreign Minister Carlos Fernández de Cossío held a press conference on the afternoon of June 8, wherein he rejected accusations leveled by US corporate media giant The Wall Street Journal that the island had reached a “secret” agreement with the Chinese government to establish a spying base. He said the information the WSJ published was “completely dishonest and unfounded”.

The report authored by Warren P. Strobel and Gordon Lubold called the alleged agreement a “brash new geopolitical challenge by Beijing to the US” and claimed that the “eavesdropping facility in Cuba, roughly 100 miles from Florida, would allow Chinese intelligence services to scoop up electronic communications throughout the southeastern US, where many military bases are located, and monitor US ship traffic.”

The “exclusive report” was published in the early hours of June 8 and cited “US officials familiar with highly classified intelligence” as its key source for the information about the agreement.

The rest of the report uses contextual information and conjectures to make the primary allegation more convincing. The authors claimed that Beijing would likely cite the fact that the US has military and intelligence activities close to China to justify its alleged base in Cuba. They highlight that “US military aircraft fly over the South China Sea, engaging in electronic surveillance” and that the US sells arms to Taiwan and sails Navy ships through the Taiwan Strait.

The authors also point to Cuba’s current economic crisis in an attempt to make their point even more convincing stating “China has agreed to pay cash-strapped Cuba several billion dollars to allow it to build the eavesdropping station.” (emphasis added)

The report released by the Dow Jones-owned outlet has been widely criticized and many have questioned the veracity of the claims given the similar occurrences such as the “Havana Syndrome” allegations which formed the basis for the application of over 200 unilateral coercive measures by the administration of Donald Trump and was eventually debunked.

Vice Foreign Minister Cossío stated in the press conference that “All these are fallacies promoted with the deceitful intention of justifying the unprecedented tightening of the blockade, destabilization, and aggression against Cuba and of deceiving public opinion in the United States and the world.”

The official also affirmed that Cuba is a signatory of the Declaration of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace and as such “reject[s] any foreign military presence in Latin America and the Caribbean, including that of numerous bases and military personnel of the United States, especially in the military base that illegally occupies a portion of the national territory in the province of Guantanamo.”

Manolo De Los Santos, co-executive director of The People’s Forum wrote, “Trump invented “Havana Syndrome” as the excuse to place 243 new sanctions on Cuba. Biden is more imaginative and invents a Chinese ‘Spy Base.’ What will come next in Washington’s aggressive foreign policy towards Cuba?”