Chinese Military Illegally Sold U.S. Telecom Equipment to Cuba's Regime

Friday, September 19, 2014
Castro's propagandists and anti-sanctions lobbyists argue that greater collaboration with Cuba's telecom monopoly, ETECSA, will somehow lead to greater Internet access for the Cuban people.

Yet, from 1995 until 2011, Telecom Italia owned 27% percent of ETECSA.

Moreover, the 2011 Cuba-Venezuela fiber optic cable was laid by France's Alcatel-Lucent.

And now we learn that the Chinese military, through Huawei, has been selling U.S. telecom equipment -- albeit illegally -- to Cuba's regime.

Have any of these lead to greater Internet access for the Cuban people?

Absolutely not. 

But they've been a great boon for Castro's regime.

From The Washington Free Beacon:

Chinese Military-Linked Telecom Firm Shipped U.S. Equipment to Cuba

Commerce probing whether Huawei sale of U.S. gear violated sanctions

A Chinese telecommunications company linked to the People’s Liberation Army provided U.S.-origin equipment to Cuba in apparent violation of U.S. economic sanctions on the communist-ruled island.

U.S. officials familiar with intelligence reports said the equipment included U.S.-made modems, routers, and switches for telecommunications networks.

The transfer took place within the past two months and was reported by the U.S. Southern Command, the military command with responsibility for Latin and South America in internal channels, said officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

One official said the transfer violated U.S. economic sanctions imposed on Cuba and that the transfer is under investigation by the Commerce Department.

No other details could be learned on the U.S. companies or company involved. However, administration officials said it is illegal to export any U.S.-origin telecommunications equipment to Cuba without an export license.

President Obama in 2009 loosened controls on Internet and telecommunications services for Cuba in an effort to promote greater openness. But telecommunications equipment remains banned under the 1964 embargo.

Huawei, a global network equipment manufacturer based in Shenzhen, China, has been identified by the Pentagon in reports to Congress as one of several companies that maintain close ties to the PLA.

Along with two other firms, Huawei, “with their ties to the [Chinese] government and PLA entities, pose potential challenges in the blurring lines between commercial and government/military-associated entities,” the 2012 report said.

Huawei also was identified by the U.S. government as posing a cyber espionage risk. A House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence report in 2012 warned U.S. businesses not to use equipment made by Huawei and another firm, ZTE, over concerns the gear can be used by China’s government to conduct cyber espionage.

The transfer of equipment to Cuba appears similar to another deal involving Huawei and Iran in 2012. Documents obtained by Reuters revealed that Huawei offered to sell Iran’s state-run telecommunications firm $1.7 worth of computer and network equipment made by Hewlett Packard. Huawei denied that it sought to evade U.S. sanctions in the proposed 2010 deal.