China embraces Cuba: (China seeks unrestricted free access to the Western Hemisphere through Cuba…sound like a certain missile crisis we thought was over when the Soviet Union collapsed? )
The Cuban Crisis Redux
China is positioning itself in the Gulf of Mexico, Panamanian Peninsula, Canada’s British Columbia, and Venezuela. It is also no coincidence that the Chinese are spending billions of dollars to upgrade antiquated Soviet military facilities in Cuba.
The bilateral relationship has grown in both its diversity and intensity recently, heightened by Cuba and China’s mutual disdain for what they see as America’s global hegemony and intrusiveness. Their joint, anti-democracy stance was further solidified in March when Cuba’s Foreign Ministry Office issued a statement supporting the “one China” principle and the Chinese anti-secession law.
But China’s primary interest in Cuba is not related to commerce. Rather, the country is interested in fostering defense ties with the island and developing a state-of-the-art intelligence infrastructure to monitor U.S. activities in the region. Intelligence and spying, not Cuban cigars and sugar cane, motivates Beijing.
When considering the possibility of another confrontation with Cuba, it is important to remember that Fidel Castro is the same man who in 1962, pleaded with the Soviet Union to initiate a nuclear attack on the U.S. He is directly responsible for a Latin American communist insurgency that has resulted in regional destabilization and illegal immigration over America’s southern border. After coming to power, he nationalized billions of dollars worth of American property without compensation to its owners. His clandestine support of Latin American drug smugglers and trafficking is well known.
Both countries are working together to penetrate U.S. intelligence, collect classified information on U.S. ports and navel assets, and secure information on the latest U.S. science and technology. China and Cuba have increased their cooperation in the areas of cyber-terrorism, biological and chemical weapons research and development, and missile capabilities. In addition, China’s use of the Bejucal base in Cuba, as well as facilities in Wajay and Santiago de Cuba, pose a growing threat to U.S. national security.
There is little doubt that a sophisticated and well integrated Chinese defense and intelligence infrastructure is being built in America’s backyard. To combat this growing threat, the current U.S. embargo first initiated in 1960 that applies to all goods, excluding medicine, medical products and agricultural commodities should remain firmly in place. The policy of U.S. agricultural companies trading with Cuba on a cash only basis prior to delivery should also continue, as well as the ongoing policy restricting travel by U.S. citizens to Cuba.
In the face of international pressure, comprehensive U.S. legislative action such as the Cuban Democracy Act which prohibits foreign-based subsidiaries of U.S. companies from trading with Cuba, and the Helms-Burton Act which denies certain visas and gives American citizens the right to sue foreign investors, should be continued and strengthened. In addition, a “Cuban Contingency Plan” should be formulated to counter any increased defense and intelligence activities initiated by Cuba which may involve hostile, non-hemispheric foreign powers such as China.
Recent actions by the Chinese in the Western Hemisphere are designed to secure state-sponsored outposts at strategic “choke” points that one day can be used by Beijing to place acute pressure on the U.S. and its allies. In this regard, recent comments made by Chinese sympathizers such as Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez that a “new geopolitical map of alliances is emerging” support a troubling trend of inflammatory comments by Latin leaders. Otto Reich, a Cuban-born U.S. diplomat under the first President Bush stated in March, “The U.S. needs a secure and prosperous hemisphere not only to ensure a peaceful neighborhood in which to live, but also to be able to project its power to the farthest reaches of the globe.”
Fidel Castro is an increasingly isolated man frustrated by a communist strategy that has produced 40 years of suffering for the Cuban people. As his years as president wind down, he is seeking to solidify his socialist legacy. What better way to achieve this goal than by playing one final cruel joke on America by allowing communist China unrestricted access to the Western Hemisphere?