Marco Rubio warns China may try to establish a military force in Cuba

FILE PHOTO: FY 2023 Budget Request for NIH in Washington
He told Fox News that China has been eavesdropping from Cuba for quite some time. He worries what's next.

The prospect of China establishing a spy facility in Cuba has generated angst and alarm within Florida’s congressional delegation for weeks. But U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, says the foreign power has grown its presence in Havana for years.

He’s worried about what might happen when military forces also arrive on the island nation. The Miami Republican spoke to Fox News host Trey Gowdy about hostile powers conducting spying operations 90 miles off Florida’s coast.

“China and Russia have had an intelligence presence in Cuba for a while. I think there’s concern now, as it’s been reported in the media, that they’re expanding their ability to collect electronically on us,” Rubio said.

The Wall Street Journal last month first reported China had reached an agreement with Cuba to set up an electronic intelligence gathering station in Havana. The newspaper reported the eastern superpower would provide billions of dollars in foreign aid to Cuba in return.

China has refuted the reporting.

Officials within President Joe Biden’s administration later told NBC News that China appears to have had an eavesdropping station in Cuba for years and upgraded its technology most recently in 2019. That seems to confirm Rubio’s assertion that spying from the island nation is nothing new.

Florida’s senior Senator noted there’s more than just proximity to American soil that makes it attractive to eavesdrop from Cuba.

“Central Command is in Tampa. Special Operations Command is in Tampa. Southern Command is in Miami,” Rubio said. “NASA, multiple military installations are up to the southeast. So it’s a huge intelligence threat.”

But more than espionage, Rubio worries hostile powers have grander plans for a foothold in the communist nation.

“The thing I keep an eye on very closely beyond that is, is there now going to be a Chinese military presence, a base of some sort, which is something the Chinese intend to do somewhere in the Western hemisphere?” Rubio said.

“It would be the first time since the Cuban Missile Crisis in which you have a large, permanent contingent of a foreign adversary, a military presence, not just in our hemisphere, but 90 miles off the coast of Key West.”

He said President Joe Biden’s administration must make clear the U.S. won’t tolerate that type of expansion.

“This administration should be focused on and making very clear that we will not tolerate or not allow, making it very clear to the Cuban regime that if they cross that line, we will have to take measures against them,” Rubio said. “We really shouldn’t limit what those measures would be in that scenario.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Dont Say FLA

    July 6, 2023 at 10:46 am

    Don’t worry your pretty Little head, Marco. Rhonda just created the Florida State Special Police Force. After the FSSPF have beaten all the trans drag queens and immigrants and beauty pageant contestants to within an inch of their lives, the FSSPF will keep you and Rhonda safe from any potential threat from Disney and/or the China communists in Cuba.

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  • Ocean Joe

    July 6, 2023 at 10:51 am

    Bad news. Maybe China feels the same way about our presence and alliance with Taiwan, which is only 10 miles farther from China than Cuba is from us.
    Maybe our historic embargo pushed by both parties has been a historic failure with bad consequences. Castro got to stay in power for life, the Cuban people suffered and suffer now. Open relations and American business presence would have wiped socialism out peacefully.

  • Tom Palmer

    July 6, 2023 at 11:02 am

    This, like the Cuban Missile “Crisis,” is more of a political problem than a military one. We have China ringed with listening posts in Japan, Korea, Thailand etc.
    Meanwhile, although Americans cannot travel freely to Cuba, they can take a trip to China (and Russia) if they choose.

    • Dont Say FLA

      July 6, 2023 at 11:07 am

      It’s true that Americans cannot travel freely to Cuba, but that was not always true. U.S. Americans could freely travel to Cuba when Trump took office, but Trump ended that.

      GOP types didn’t like the idea of Cuba opening up and joining the west of the world.

      GOP needs a bogeyman. GOP needs a crisis looming.

      GOP needs Cuba to be closed so GOPs can cry “Communists” about somebody without messing up trade with China. Communist China, where all good GOP CEOs externalize their manufacturing costs onto low wage Chinese Communist workers.

  • Mr. Haney

    July 6, 2023 at 1:23 pm

    Marco the coward can enlist if he’s concerned.

  • Eduardo Slaveen Worldwide 👍

    July 6, 2023 at 1:51 pm

    He doesn’t know his ass from a whole in the wall.

Comments are closed.


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