On August 3, 2021, the Russian news agency Sputnik reported that, in February 2021, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) appears to have sent a group of China’s Armed Police officers to Cuba to train the Cuban Black Berets, a special forces unit under the Cuban Ministry of the Interior. Beijing Today reported the Sputnik article. Information from the U.S. media indicates that Black Berets played a crucial role in squashing the unprecedented protests in Cuba last month.
According to Beijing Today, the Sputnik article shows group photos of Chinese Armed Police officers and Cuban Black Berets. In the pictures, the Black Berets are holding Russian SVD sniper rifles. The Chinese officers were training the Black Berets on sniper rifle shooting.
An article that Beijing Today posted stated that experts believe China’s dispatch of experienced instructors to Cuba has taught the White House a lesson. It stated that the training solidified the combat capabilities of these elite forces in the Cuban Ministry of the Interior. It is not a good thing for the United States.
This was not the first media report indicating that China provided military training to Cuba. On May 27, 2010, the CCP media China Central TV (CCTV), broadcasted on its military channel (Junshi Jishi) a program on training Cuba’s Black Berets titled, “Chinese Armed Police as ‘Foreign Teachers.’” From November 2008 to January 2009, in 55 days, four Chinese Armed Police officers taught the Cuban Black Berets mixed martial arts, hostage rescue, and handling “large scale riots” to close to a hundred Cuban students. The training was held at the training base for the special forces of the Cuban Ministry of Internal Affairs. According to the CCTV program, senior generals from the Cuban Ministry of Internal Affairs awarded “Special Contribution” medals (“extremely high honors”) to the Chinese officers.
In 2016, China’s Armed Police in the Ningxia Autonomous Region (central-north China) also sent instructors to Cuba. From April 19 to May 21, 2016, they provided training across six categories to the Cuban special forces. The Chinese media reports show group photos of the Chinese officers and the Cuban Black Berets. The purpose of the trip was to “consolidate the traditional friendship between the Armed Police Force and the Cuban Ministry of Internal Affairs along with its affiliated police forces, and to deepen the practical cooperation between the two parties.” China’s Armed Police instructors “demonstrated excellent military skills and good style. They also successfully completed the glorious and arduous training tasks assigned by the heads of the [Chinese Communist] Party committees at the headquarters.” Again, the Cuban Ministry of Internal Affairs awarded “Special Contribution” medals to the Chinese officers.
1. Beijing Today, August 4, 2021
2. China News, May 28, 2010