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Cuban-Floridians sound alarm over Chinese spies operating out of Cuba

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(The Center Square) – Cuban-American Republican U.S. representatives from Miami are sounding the alarm about a Chinese spy base in Cuba, roughly 100 miles from the American city in which many Cuban-Americans live.

U.S. Rep. Carlos Giménez, the former mayor of Miami-Dade County, sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying the spy base represents an “imminent threat” to Americans. Giménez, the only sitting Congressman born in Cuba, arrived in Miami in 1960 with his parents, who fled Cuba after the Cuban Revolution. U.S. Rep. Maria Salazar, whose parents also fled Cuba, was born in Miami’s “Little Havana,” and is also warning Americans about the spy base.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Chinese government has spent billions of dollars on a spy base to create an electronic eavesdropping scheme targeting Americans in Florida. U.S. officials said “the base would enable China to conduct signals intelligence, known in the espionage world as sigint [signals intelligence], which could include the monitoring of a range of communications, including emails, phone calls and satellite transmissions,” the WSJ reported.

Politico also reported senior U.S. officials confirmed, “China is in talks with Cuba to establish a foothold there to spy on the United States.”

Initially, the Biden administration denied the reports, saying they were “inaccurate.” It later reversed course, telling Politico that the People’s Republic of China had “intelligence collection facilities” already established in Cuba and the administration’s “diplomatic efforts” had “slowed the PRC down.”

“The PRC will keep trying to enhance its presence in Cuba, and we will keep working to disrupt it,” the official told Politico.

The news broke two months after a nonprofit organization exposed PRC “police stations” illegally operating in the U.S., prompting the Department of Justice to file criminal complaints and members of Congress demanding answers.

In the letter first reported by Fox News Digital, Gimenez expressed his “profound concern regarding several reports confirming that the Communist Party of China and the murderous Castro regime in Cuba have agreed to establish an espionage base just 90 miles away from America’s shores.

“This action poses an imminent threat to the United States of America. The Castro regime in Cuba is a listed State Sponsor of Terrorism that actively pursues opportunities to undermine the United States and threaten the safety and wellbeing of our citizens. Allowing Communist China to establish a base in Cuba is only the latest example of the Castro regime’s long history of coercive, anti-American pursuits.”

Gimenez’ district, which includes the Florida Keys, where Chinese nationals are continuing to illegally enter the U.S., is only 90 nautical miles from Cuba. The Chinese-Cuban espionage base “poses a direct threat to my constituents and to the millions of tourists who visit South Florida every year,” he said. “Communist China is proactively undermining the United States across the Western Hemisphere and I urge this Administration to build a robust, comprehensive, and expedient strategy to counter the CCP’s malign influence with neighboring states.”

Salazar tweeted several warnings in English and Spanish, saying, “The Cuban regime is auctioning off land to the Russians, hosting the Iranians, and letting the Chinese open a base to spy on the U.S.”

She warned, “Castro/Díaz-Canel choose the bad guys as friends. They will ground the Russians, host the president of Iran, and allow the Chinese to spy on us. The regime is a risk to the National Security of this country.”

She also posted a video explaining how “the Chinese communists are now going to spy on us from Cuba,” including through email, phone calls, texts and radio.

Prior to the news of the spy base, Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida legislature took measures to safeguard Floridians from Chinese aggression. In 2020, Florida began cracking down on companies owned by the Communist Party of China in Florida and implemented policies to divest state financial investments in China. In 2021, Florida changed its retirement system fund strategy to divest from any Chinese companies and DeSantis signed into law bills to protect trade secrets and require greater disclosure for sources of funding for university, medical and high-tech researchers in Florida.

In late 2022, DeSantis signed an executive order prohibiting government entities from procuring technology products and services from companies owned by, controlled by or domiciled in the seven foreign countries of concern, with China at the top of the list. Within months, the legislature passed three bills prohibiting Chinese agents from purchasing farmland and land near military bases in Florida, to prevent Americans’ digital data from being stored in China, and to stop CCP influence in its education system.

When signing the bills into law, DeSantis said, “Florida is taking action to stand against the United States’ greatest geopolitical threat – the Chinese Communist Party. We don’t want the CCP in the Sunshine State.”

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