U.S. Intelligence Agencies Advance Disinformation About Chinese Spy Base in Cuba to Gain Support for Cruel Embargo Costing Cubans $455 Million Per Month
After having lied about WMDs, Russia Gate, chemical weapons in Syria and so many other things, the U.S. intelligence community is now advancing the lie that Cuba is hosting a Chinese spy base that enables China to spy on the U.S.
The Wall Street Journal reported on June 8 that China and Cuba had reached an agreement in principle to build an electronic eavesdropping station on the island and that China planned to pay cash-strapped Cuba billions of dollars as part of the negotiations.
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, however, said in an MSNBC interview that The Wall Street Journal report was “not accurate” and that the U.S. was watching Chinese influence activities around the world very carefully.
An anonymous source familiar with the intelligence says it suggests that a deal has been struck in principle but there has not been any movement on building the spy facility.
Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Carlos Fernández de Cossío said that the slanderous speculation about a Chinese spy base was causing “harm and alarm without observing minimum patterns of communication and without providing data or evidence to support what they disseminate.”
Mobilizing Support for Regime Change
The Chinese spy base fabrication is obviously designed to try to mobilize public support for the Biden administration’s regime-change policies.
Biden’s election had raised expectations among many Cubans of a return to the Obama days, when the United States sought to bury the last vestige of the Cold War by restoring diplomatic relations with Havana and calling for an end to the embargo.
However, when protests broke out early in Biden’s presidency, the Biden administration supported the dissidents and doubled down on Donald Trump’s hard-line anti-Cuba policies.
It expanded sanctions and the economic embargo of Cuba, which is opposed by 185 countries and, according to Yuri Gala López, the Ambassador of the Permanent Mission of Cuba to the UN, costs Cubans $455 million per month.
Obama had argued that making it easier for Americans to travel to Cuba and invest in its nascent private sector stood a better chance of promoting economic and political changes on the island than the more directly confrontational regime-change policy Washington has pursued since the 1960s.
Biden went along with Obama’s policy though, in 1996 as a U.S. Senator, he had supported tightening the already devastating U.S. embargo on Cuba through the Helms-Burton Act, which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.
Fidel Castro called Helms-Burton a “shameful” bill, which paved the way for “economic genocide.” In addition to tightening economic sanctions, it increased support for Cuban exile groups and made it official U.S. policy to support regime change in Cuba.
In 2008, Biden stated that he was against “lifting the embargo until there is a response to political prisoners—all the things that are wrong with this Castro administration.”
Besides his own pro-imperialist sensibilities, Biden’s policy shift from Obama reflects the influence of Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Robert Menendez, the son of Cuban immigrants and an ardent champion of regime-change policies who criticized Obama’s gambit toward Cuba.
Cruelty of Maximum Pressure Policies
The cruelty of Menendez’s approach was underscored at an International People’s Tribunal on U.S. Imperialism focused on Cuba on June 10 and 11. See video here and here.
Organized by an array of peace and social justice organizations, the hearings aimed to spotlight the pernicious impact of U.S. sanctions functioning as a “key tool of U.S. imperialism.”
The first speaker at the hearing, Yuri Gala López, emphasized the Biden administration was continuing to apply a “maximum pressure policy” on Cuba inherited from the Trump administration, whose purpose was to cripple its economy in order to facilitate unrest and the eventual overthrow of Cuba’s communist government.
This strategy has essentially been in place since 1960 following the triumph of the Cuban Revolution led by Fidel Castro, which toppled the U.S.-backed dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista and nationalized Cuba’s economy while advancing land reform and instituting free health care and education.
López cited an April 1960 memorandum by Lester D. Mallory, the Deputy Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs at the time of the Cuban Revolution, which emphasized that, since the majority of Cubans supported Fidel Castro and there was no effective political opposition, the U.S. should try to create economic hardship for the population by denying money and supplies and cutting off trade, which would bring about hunger and desperation and the eventual overthrow of Castro’s government.
Mallory’s memo provided the basis for U.S. foreign policy toward Cuba that remains essentially unchanged after six decades.
According to López, the impact of the U.S. blockade has been devastating in human terms, resulting in material shortages and scarcity designed to sow the seeds of popular dissatisfaction with the Castro and Miguel Díaz-Canel administrations.
The economic damage from the embargo is at least $154 billion, along with thousands killed in terrorist acts directed largely from U.S. soil.
Other speakers at the hearing emphasized that the U.S. goal was to punish Cuba for its defiance and establishment of a humane governing structure that serves as an alternative to the inhuman capitalist system.
In the agricultural sector, because of the blockade, farmers are deprived of needed technologies and have difficulty exporting their products. Transportation is impeded and certain medicines and medical treatments are difficult to obtain. The U.S. even blocked the delivery of respirators following the outbreak of COVID-19.
Because of a remarkable medical system nevertheless, Cuba has obtained lower infant mortality rates than in the U.S. and parallel life expectancy. This is because of the Cuban government’s investment of its resources in the social and human needs of its people, unlike in the U.S. where neo-liberal austerity is the norm and so much money is invested in the military.
Cuba’s function as a zone of peace was evident in its recent role in helping to broker an important peace agreement in Colombia between the Colombian government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla group.
Cuba has generally been labeled by U.S. administrations as a terrorist state and accused of providing a platform for spycraft and subversion into the U.S. when, in reality, it is the U.S. which has terrorized Cuba for six decades and tried to deliberately impoverish and starve its people in the vain hope that they could achieve the long-held goal of regime change and turn the clock back to the 1950s.
1. Wang Wenbin, spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry, said the U.S. is the “global champion of hacking and superpower of surveillance,” suggesting U.S. officials spread rumors about the spy base as a “common tactic.”