Second the information reported from the Wall Street Journal, Beijing has allegedly concluded an agreement with Cuba to plant the foundations of a new electronic listening station under the nose of the United States, a stone's throw from Florida.
In Cuba Chinese ears on America
The planned station in Cuba would allow China to listen to electronic communications coming from the southeastern United States. Above all, to keep an eye on vessel traffic in a crucial area. An area that hosts numerous military bases, including the headquarters of the United States Central Command (in Tampa).
The costs of the agreement, according to sources in the US newspaper, are exorbitant. It's a multi-billion dollar operation.
Question and answer
The response from the United States was not long in coming. John Kirby, spokesman for the White House National Security Council, released a statement in which he "reacted without reacting." Without referring directly to the news, you stressed the administration's awareness of China's efforts to invest in infrastructure with possible military ends. Including those in this hemisphere.
At the moment, despite the cryptic statement from the Chinese embassy in Washington and the absence of comments from Cuba, the agreement between the two countries has already raised alarms in the Biden administration.
What is behind it and what lies ahead
A little over 60 years after the missile crisis that saw the installation of Soviet nuclear weapons, Cuba is still proving fertile ground for geopolitical skirmishes. This time it could be China to pitch the tents, annoyed by the "dangerous liaisons" of the USA with Taiwan. Not to mention the controversy over the shooting down of an alleged Chinese spy balloon by the US army.
More fuel on the fire for the next trip to China by the Secretary of State Antony blinken, which has already been postponed several times. That would still be the least of the problems.
Cuba opens to Beijing, the possible consequences
The situation could escalate quickly. The Senator Bob menendez, the Democratic chairman of the Senate External Relations Committee and a well-known hawk on Cuba, said that if the news turns out to be true, it would be a "direct attack" on the United States. And even if his country also has a long history of spying on China, a Chinese listening installation in Cuba would still present a "major problem".
China, meanwhile, continues to extend its network of relationships around the world: and Cuba, grappling with inflation, fuel shortages, an agricultural crisis and an exhausted economy, could find crucial help in Chinese money. The USA discounts the shortcomings of an "idyll" that never took off with Havana: Biden's partial cancellation of the restrictions imposed by Trump is considered insufficient by Cubans.
And while the two superpowers continue to move their pawns on the chessboard of the new (hopefully) cold war, it is tranquil Cuba that finds itself, once again, at the center of the storm.