by Manolo De Los Santos and Kate Gonzales
Addressing allegations of “Chinese spy base” in Cuba.
On June 8, the U.S. media added to its long storybook of tales to scare people away from normal relations with Cuba. The Wall Street Journal published an article on that day claiming that China has plans to set up a “spy base” in Cuba, to “eavesdrop” on the United States and “identify potential strike targets.” WSJ has already published two more pieces since rapidly ramping up its narrative against the Cuban state and fermenting more paranoia as the news spreads across mainstream news outlets in the United States.
Meanwhile, Cuban officials held a press conference on June 8 to completely deny the allegations. Cuba’s Vice Foreign Minister Carlos de Cossío stated 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.” Even John Kirby, National Security Council spokesman who was the former press secretary for the Pentagon, has denied the WSJ report, calling it “inaccurate.”
This is just one new addition to the long legacy of lies that the United States has been spinning in an attempt to further alienate the Cuban people. One just has to remember the “Havana syndrome” that mysteriously affected diplomats in Cuba; it was first blamed on foreign powers as an attack but was later revealed to have no basis. Or maybe the claims about 20,000 Cuban soldiers supposedly based in Venezuela to maintain the government there, when in reality, the vast majority of Cubans present in Venezuela were medical workers. Or perhaps the idea that Cuban doctors sent across the world are enslaved, when it is simply their understanding that their duty to humanity is to provide health care to those who need it. All of these lies have been told just in the past few years alone.
These falsified stories all swirl into fomenting the atmosphere of paranoia and suspicion that prevents normal U.S.-Cuba relations. In the wake of the Havana syndrome myth, Trump was able to interrupt the path Obama set toward normalization, setting 243 additional and comprehensive sanctions, and further preventing the island from meeting its basic needs. The United States continues to live out its Cold War fantasies through these lies, at the cost of the Cuban people’s lives and well-being.
And yet, it maintains its hypocrisy. Cossío was careful to point out that Cuba would never allow a foreign military base on their island, as it is a signatory of the Declaration of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace. Cuba is also currently sponsoring and hosting peace talks between Colombia and the National Liberation Army (ELN). As of today, they have agreed to a cease-fire, ending decades of violence in the country. Cuba already suffers from the illegal U.S. occupation of Guantanamo, to further rub salt in the wound. The United States has its infamous military base there, which is known for the inhumane treatment and torture it deals out to its prisoners. While it accuses China of military expansion, the United States has hundreds of military bases all over the globe.
Cuba has demonstrated that it desires nothing but peace in the region, and normal relations with its neighbor, the United States. But the United States refuses to accept this proposal. Instead, it maintains the most comprehensive sanctions in history against the small island. Instead, it falsely places Cuba on the state sponsors of terrorism list, even though it is in fact a sponsor of peace. Instead, the U.S. government and its media apparatuses choose to fabricate myths and legends, painting Cuba as the evil monster under the bed. It chooses to scare the U.S. people away from the possibility that normal relations and ending the blockade against Cuba could be good for people from both countries.
Manolo De Los Santos is the co-executive director of the People’s Forum and is a researcher at Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. He co-edited, most recently, Viviremos: Venezuela vs. Hybrid War (LeftWord Books/1804 Books, 2020) and Comrade of the Revolution: Selected Speeches of Fidel Castro (LeftWord Books/1804 Books, 2021). He is a co-coordinator of the People’s Summit for Democracy.
Kate Gonzales is the editorial coordinator at 1804 Books. Born and raised in New York City, she has worked in development and education for arts and political organizations, and organized with grassroots movements in Hungary and New Jersey. Kate studied anthropology at Bard College, where she wrote her thesis on Filipino migrant nationalism.
This article was produced by Globetrotter.