EXCLUSIVE — Rep. Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla., warned the Biden administration Thursday that reports of China securing an agreement to pay Cuba billions of dollars to build a spy base on the island nation less than 100 miles off the U.S. mainland poses an “imminent threat” to Americans and urged the White House to take action to bolster national security.
In a letter exclusively obtained by Fox News Digital, Gimenez – who sits on the House Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the U.S. and the Chinese Communist Party – wrote to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken “to express my 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,” Gimenez, the only member of Congress born in Cuba, wrote. “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 & 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.”
“As the Member of Congress for America’s Southernmost district, which includes the entirety of the Florida Keys, this espionage base poses a direct threat to my constituents and to the millions of tourists who visit South Florida every year,” he continued. “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.”
Gimenez urged the Biden administration “to condemn this blatant threat to our national security interests” and employ sanctions to “prevent efforts from anti-American adversaries from establishing a base to conduct espionage, cyberattacks, or other threats to the homeland – only minutes away from the mainland United States.”
In a video message also exclusively obtained by Fox News Digital, Gimenez, while standing in front of a placard showing an image of Cuban Communist President Miguel Diaz-Canel and Chinese President Xi Jinping shaking hands during a Beijing meeting in November, noted how “two long time adversaries are now joining forces against the United States.”
“It should give President Biden and Secretary Blinken you know, maybe a second thought, on maybe whether to reestablish ties with Cuba, open up dialogue with Cuba,” Gimenez said.
“Any kind of diplomatic moves they’re trying to make with Beijing, believe me, I have no confidence in their ability to do that, and I think that anything that comes out of those talks is probably not going to be beneficial for the United States of America. It’ll probably be beneficial to these two guys,” he said, gesturing to Xi and Diaz-Canel.
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that China and Cuba have reached a secret agreement for China to establish an electronic eavesdropping facility on the island, allowing Chinese intelligence services to “scoop up electronic communications throughout the southeastern U.S., where many military bases are located, and monitor U.S. ship traffic.”
The report, citing officials familiar with the matter, says, “China has agreed to pay cash-strapped Cuba several billion dollars to allow it to build the eavesdropping station, and that the two countries had reached an agreement in principle.” The report says U.S. officials described the intelligence on the plans as “convincing.”
White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters Thursday that the report on the China-Cuba base is “not accurate.” The National Security Council separately told Fox News that the WSJ report and a Politico report on the subject are inaccurate, but it did not elaborate.
Fox News could not immediately verify the report’s finding.
“We are not going to comment on those specific reports. On a broader level, we are very aware of the PRC’s attempts to invest in infrastructure around the world that may have military purposes, including in the western hemisphere,” a U.S. Department of Defense official told Fox News. “We will continue to monitor it closely and remain confident that we are able to meet all our security commitments at home and across the region.”
Blinken, who canceled a trip to Beijing during the February spy craft controversy, reportedly rescheduled a trip to China to meet Xi in the next few weeks.
Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin and Patrick Ward contributed to this report.