What to do about China in Cuba? Shine a bright light on totalitarian ideologies here, everywhere

Special to WorldTribune, June 12, 2023

Commentary by Laurence F Sanford

Cuba in 1960 was the first Latin American country to recognize the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) rule in China. Now all of Latin America, with the exception of Belize, Guatemala, and Paraguay, recognize the CCP.

Two-thirds of Latin American countries are ruled by socialist leaders friendly towards China, though most are careful not to antagonize the United States openly due to important trade relations.

China has reached a secret deal with Cuba to place an electronic eavesdropping facility on the island roughly 100 miles from Florida.

China is paying Cuba billions of dollars for the right to build a spy station to gather signals communications intelligence against the United States, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Cuba is just 90 miles off the coast of Florida. The spy base will be able to sweep electronic signals from the southeastern area of the U.S., which is home to many military bases and space launch facilities.

John Kirby, spokesperson for the National Security Council, said the report was “not accurate” without detailing how it was inaccurate. The Cuban embassy called it “mendacious,” and the Chinese Embassy had “no comment.”

China is reciprocating U.S. signals intelligence gathering against China from military bases in South Korea, Japan, Okinawa, and the Philippines. The U.S. also gathers intelligence through ships and airplanes transiting the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait, which China claims as territorial waters. Chinese claims to these waters are not recognized by international organizations or by neighboring countries.

China buzzed a U.S. Air Force US RC-135 Rivet Joint reconnaissance aircraft in an “unnecessarily aggressive maneuver”  while transiting through South China Sea international air space on May 26.  On June 4, the U.S. guided-missile destroyer Chung-Hoon was forced to slow down to avoid a collision in the Taiwan Straits. China claims the U.S.’s provocative and dangerous moves in its territorial waters and air space are the root cause of maritime security issues.

Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base (Gitmo) at the southeastern tip of Cuba is a consistent source of Cuban protests. The base has been under U.S. control since the Spanish American War and has been under a treaty with Cuba since 1903 with no expiration date. Cuba claims the treaty was imposed under force and is illegal under international law. China supports the Cuban position.

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) cooperation between China and Cuba was reaffirmed in November 2022 in a meeting between President Xi of China and President Diaz-Canel of Cuba. They agreed to cooperate on issues of mutual interest, such as Cuba’s support of the One China policy (Taiwan is part of China) and China’s support in ending embargoes against Cuba. Major BRI infrastructure projects in Cuba include renewable energy and port facility improvements. China is Cuba’s largest trading partner, with Cuba exporting nickel and sugar and China exporting manufactured goods.

Cuba has had nearly $5 billion in debt forgiven by China. In 2015, the Paris Club forgave $8.5 billion of $11 billion owed. Cuba’s finances are considered state secrets, and the current total debt owed is not known.

Cuba has suffered from totalitarian communism and a U.S. embargo since the 1960s.

The people are poor and suffer the usual depredations of communism — poor food, shabby housing, poor medical care, lack of free speech, religious and political persecution, and police state suppression.

To those who argue that Cuba is a socialist paradise, one only has to ask how many people have died fleeing to Cuba versus how many people have died fleeing from Cuba. Death estimates for those fleeing from the Castro regime range from 11,000 to 70,000. Death estimates for those fleeing to Cuba range from 0 to 0.

Totalitarian ideologies such as communism, fascism, and Islamism are like mushrooms. They thrive in dark, dank, and dirty environments. Exposure to light causes mushrooms and totalitarian ideologies to shrivel and shrink, ultimately ending up on the “ash heap of history.”

President Reagan used the term “ash heap” in his speech before the British Parliament in June 1982 to describe the future fate of communism in the Soviet Union.

However Marxist-Leninist communism did not die. Its offshoots and other totalitarian ideologies flourish where they are nourished.

Bringing darkness to Western civilization is Marxist cancel culture shouting down free speech in universities, and Islamophobia accusations silencing discussions on Islamic atrocities.


China’s goal is world domination. The United States is the main obstacle to achieving this goal. China is increasing its “gray zone” activities, that area between war and diplomacy,  worldwide, with Cuba a high priority due to its proximity to the U.S.

Insanity is described as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. The United States has maintained an embargo against Cuba for over sixty years for the purpose of changing Cuba’s behavior. How has that worked out? For sixty years, Cuba has used the embargo to justify its repressive control. The world in general, and Latin America in particular, have condemned the U.S. bullying. The U.S. should lift the embargo and let the light flow into Cuba. The Marxist ideology will start to shrivel.

The United States should also leave Guantanamo. How would America like a foreign power occupying a section of Long Island or the Florida Keys? The Gitmo prison is a disgrace to American values. We are holding terrorists off-shore for years without trial because we are afraid to bring them onto American soil and, therefore, subject to our laws?

China is not going away. The United States must increase its own “gray zone” activities built upon a strong military and economy. Reciprocity to CCP actions is essential.

Renew American civilization and stop indoctrinating our citizens with the Marxist ideologies of Woke, DIE (Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity), and  Critical Race Theory (CRT).

Peace through Strength!

Laurence Sanford graduated from Boston College and then served in the U.S. Navy Pacific fleet from 1963 to 1966. He then served as an officer in the clandestine service of the Central Intelligence Agency for over 4 years, including a two-year assignment in Hong Kong. Mr. Sanford serves as a Senior Analyst with the American Security Council Foundation and is also President of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers — Florida Satellite Chapter.