China and Cuba are allegedly collaborating to transport Chinese individuals across the Atlantic Ocean’s Straits of Florida into the U.S., says U.S. Rep. Carlos Gimenez of Florida.
In a recent discussion with the Daily Mail, representative Gimenez, from the Florida Keys, expressed his concerns about this potential alliance between the two nations. This concern follows the apprehension of 17 Chinese individuals within his district.
“For the first time, we have evidence of [Chinese individuals] attempting to enter via the Keys, which raises concerns,” Gimenez shared in his interview. He added, “The reasons behind their presence remain unknown.”
On October 23, U.S. Border Patrol agents and Florida Highway Patrol officers intervened with a vessel’s landing in Key Largo. The intervention resulted in the detention of three Ecuadorians and 17 Chinese immigrants. Local news agencies reported the group included 11 men and six women.
Gimenez, a member of several key committees, including the Armed Services Committee and the new Select Committee on China, immediately sought more information regarding these individuals.
He discussed the event with The Daily Mail and said, “It’s alarming to see these attempts in the Keys. It’s evident that China’s influence is growing, with more projects and activities in our hemisphere, especially in Cuba.”
Earlier in the year, it was disclosed that China and Cuba made an undisclosed agreement to establish an electronic surveillance base within the island, about 100 miles from the U.S. coastline.
Previous reports have indicated over 100 incidents where Chinese individuals, under the guise of tourism, have probed the defenses of U.S. military establishments and other vital sites.
Gimenez highlighted that many of these individuals have been caught photographing critical infrastructure to identify vulnerabilities potentially.
In a notable instance, Chinese individuals tried to breach security at Fort Wainwright in Alaska. Another report mentioned repeated examples of photography of the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
Reports also suggest that Chinese individuals have been seen near Key West’s military facilities and close to Cape Canaveral, a notable satellite launch location.
Gimenez criticized the current U.S. administration for lax border controls, suggesting that these have allowed a surge in unauthorized entries since President Biden’s inauguration in 2021. He emphasized the potential risks of espionage and terrorism.
Asserting his concerns, he commented, “The prevailing border policies are making the U.S. vulnerable.”
Chairman Mark Green of the House Homeland Security Committee also highlighted that over 17,800 Chinese individuals entered the U.S. in 2023.