Unlike Tampa Bay area, Miami-Dade girds for a fight to keep Cuban consulate away
To get an idea of the contrast between the Tampa Bay area and Miami on the idea of hosting a Cuban consulate, check out this story from the Miami Herald:
“I’m going to go to federal court if the State Department grants a license to Cuba to establish a consulate here,” said Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado, who was born in Cuba and whose father was a political prisoner under Fidel Castro for two decades. ... Regalado described a potential Cuba consulate as an “unfunded mandate,” because Miami police would constantly need to react to the protests and security risks tied to it.
“Every time the Cuban government does something” controversial, Regalado said, “we’re going to have protests.... It affects our peace and stability.”
Meanwhile, St. Petersburg, the Tampa City Council, the Hillsborough County Commission and the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce have all supported bringing a Cuban consulate here, though Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is, at most, lukewarm to the idea.
The Herald also reported that a Miami-Dade county resolution set for a vote this week "would urge President Barack Obama not to allow a Cuban consulate in Miami-Dade, saying the satellite embassy 'could inflame passions and create security risks' ”:
"A travesty," said Miami-Dade Commissioner Esteban “Steve” Bovo, the son of a Bay of Pigs veteran who sponsored the county resolution.
“The moment there’s a free Cuba, the moment there are elections in Cuba, the moment that beatings stop happening in Cuba, then I think there will be a very bright opportunity [for Miami-Dade] to take its right leadership role in Cuba,” Bovo said.
But, the Herald noted, sentiment in Miami is not unanimous:
“Miami is logically the place for a consulate, and it will probably not be the place for a consulate,” said Mike Fernandez, a Cuban-born healthcare magnate in Coral Gables who is a top Republican donor. He supports ties to Cuba and traveled to Havana last fall as part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s outreach programs. “If I was mayor of Miami, I would say I represent everyone in Miami, and I represent the future of Miami. And this is business.”
“It’s absolutely time to forgive,” added Fernandez, chairman of MBF Healthcare Partners. “It’s way overdue.”