During the House Foreign Affairs Committee's hearing with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, where the Biden administration official made his budget pitch for his department, Representative Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL) thoroughly grilled Sec. Blinken on the Biden Administration's handling of Latin American countries, especially Cuba and Argentina.
Regarding Cuba, Rep. Salazar spoke of rumors that the United States would remove Cuba from the State Sponsors of Terrorism List.
"There are rumors that the United States is preparing to remove Cuba from the list of Terrorist States. That would mean that the Cuban regime would be able to borrow money; to gain oxygen for their repressive apparatus. Is the State Department planning to remove Cuba from the list of Terrorist States? Yes or no?"
Sec. Blinken answers that "there is no plan" to remove Cuba's entry and that the State Department has "a very high bar" countries must pass before being considered for removal.
Next, Salazar questioned Blinken about a Chinese military satellite station in Argentina, which she says "sounds really scary," yet when she inquired Assistant Secretary William Russo about it, he "had never heard of it," prompting Salazar to ask if Blinken is aware.
"You know that there is a Chinese military satellite station in Argentina. That sounds really scary. Because I'm sure the Chinese are not looking at the stars. So last month, your Assistant Secretary told me that he had never heard of it. And we're talking about the size of five hundred football fields in Patagonia. So in 2019, the Pentagon said that that base was a threat, no kidding. Do you know anything about it?"
Blinken said he "would be happy" to follow up with Salazar on the issue because he was not Secretary of State in 2019, which only prompted Salazar to say, "you're now head of the State Department, and we're talking about a satellite station right there next to us in the same hemisphere."
Moreover, the Argentinian government apparently cannot enter the station, which only heightens the threat.
"What do you think the Chinese are doing? Cupcakes?" Salazar sarcastically inquired.
Again, Blinken responded he would follow up on it.
Salazar concluded her questioning by saying it was to his benefit her time was up.