Red Dawn: Chinese Paramilitary Reportedly Training Elite Cuban Forces


Spooked by the protests that rocked Cuba in July, the island’s communist regime called out an elite security force of the country’s Ministry of the Interior with training from one of China’s most ruthless tools of repression

ADN Cuba, a Cuban opposition media website, reported in a Google translation on Saturday that, over the past six years the Special National Brigade, known by its Spanish acronym BEN, has been receiving special training from members of the Chinese People’s Armed Police Force, a paramilitary force that specializes in riot control and fighting terrorism. The training is conducted in Cuba.

BEN troops, according to the article, are instructed in areas such as “sniper preparation and intervention tactics” among other methods of suppressing the population.

ADN notes that China is “an expert in silencing their citizens and cutting off any sign of political opposition or public disagreement that calls into question the alleged totalitarian support for the Communist Party.”

Members of BEN, which was established in 1980, are known as the “Black Berets,” according to ADN. Their purpose is to handle an assortment of special situations, according to ADN, and are often “mobilized to frighten and repress dissidents, opponents and independent activists.”

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Obviously, these forces learned their lessons from the Chinese well because their heavy-handed treatment of the protesters caught the attention of the Biden administration.

The lack of support for the Cuban protesters from President Joe Biden has been extremely disappointing. However, the Treasury Department under his administration did impose sanctions on Cuba’s defense minister, Álvaro López Miera, and the Black Berets for their suppression of the peaceful protests.

One can only imagine what suppression techniques the Black Berets have learned from their Chinese mentors.

In a statement released on July 22 in which he announced the sanctions, Biden said, “Today, my Administration is imposing new sanctions targeting elements of the Cuban regime responsible for this crackdown — the head of the Cuban military and the division of the Cuban Ministry of the Interior driving the crackdown — to hold them accountable for their actions. This is just the beginning – the United States will continue to sanction individuals responsible for oppression of the Cuban people.”

Are you concerned that China is training members of Cuba's military?

The statement went on to say, “Advancing human dignity and freedom is a top priority for my Administration.” He could have fooled us.

Ironically, the first sentence states, “I unequivocally condemn the mass detentions and sham trials that are unjustly sentencing to prison those who dared to speak out … “

Why the same could actually be said of the Biden DOJ’s detentions of Jan. 6 protesters in the U.S.

China and Cuba are connected in many ways. In addition to their military ties, the two communist nations maintain a strong trade relationship.

Fox News contributor Gordon Chang is the network’s go-to person for all things China-related.

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Chang explored the Sino-Cuba relationship in a recent Newsweek article. He spoke with Evan Ellis of the U.S. Army War College who explained that, “China’s relationship with Cuba was truncated following the Sino-Soviet split, in which Cuba allied with the Soviet Union.”

However, “following the fall of the Soviet Union and the dramatic withdrawal of Soviet subsidies for Cuba, China strengthened its relationship somewhat by stepping into the breach.”

China is heavily invested in the island nation only 90 miles from the U.S. coast, Change wrote.

He spoke to Joseph Humire, the executive director of the Center for a Secure Free Society, a conservative think tank, who said, “China uses Cuba as a platform for many of its regional intelligence and security operations. This includes a signals intelligence station used to intercept communications in the United States.”

“Along with Venezuela, China is the largest benefactor to the Cuban regime,” he added.

China has also helped create Cuba’s internet and communication infrastructure. According to Chang, it is because of China’s expertise, the Cuban president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, has been able to disable the internet by flipping a switch, a luxury he’s obviously enjoyed since the protests began.

Considering Cuba’s proximity to American soil, their cozy relationship is worrying indeed.

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Elizabeth writes commentary for The Western Journal and The Washington Examiner. Her articles have appeared on many websites, including MSN, RedState, Newsmax, The Federalist and RealClearPolitics. Please follow Elizabeth on Twitter or LinkedIn.
Elizabeth is a contract writer at The Western Journal. Her articles have appeared on many conservative websites including RedState, Newsmax, The Federalist,, HotAir, MSN and RealClearPolitics.

Please follow Elizabeth on Twitter.