It has long been clear that China and Cuba, among the handful of remaining communist countries, view the U.S. as a common enemy. A fuller picture of their common cause was revealed recently, first by the Journal and then by government disclosure that China is using Cuba for eavesdropping and military training. China has been running extensive spying operations out of Cuba and secretly arming Havana for more than two decades. As far back as 2001, U.S. intelligence was reported to have known the existence of the Chinese eavesdropping operation in Cuba.
These espionage efforts began in earnest after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when Fidel Castro’s regime lost the support the Soviets had provided since the 1960s. The Chinese Communist Party, which viewed the Soviet collapse as a betrayal of the communist cause, quickly seized the opportunity to use Cuba as a front-line anti-American station. As a result, Beijing and Havana have signed a series of agreements—some open, others secret—that have allowed China to modernize Cuba’s obsolete Soviet weapons and telecommunications systems.