Tampa's mayor is open to the idea of locating a Cuban consulate in the city, but he said he's not seeking it out.
Bob Buckhorn said Wednesday at the Board of Governors' meeting in Jacksonville that he would like to stay out of the decision to open a Cuban consulate in the city.
"If the decision is made to locate it here we will do everything we are obligated to do by law, protect the diplomats and make sure the rules are abided by," he said.
Buckhorn added that Tampa — "the cradle of Cuban independence" — would be a natural choice. Jose Marti, a famous writer who was instrumental in Cuba's struggle for independence from Spain, used to regularly visit Tampa, he said. Plus, Tampa has a significant Cuban population.
Still, he would neither lobby for a Cuban consulate in Tampa nor oppose such an effort — out of respect for Cuban citizens who lost so much to the current regime.
"Clearly the mayor of Miami has indicated that they are not interested," Buckhorn said. "If the powers that be at the federal level decide, then we will live with it."
Rep. Kathy Castor suggested Tampa as an ideal location, but her office could not be reached for further comment.
Information from Bay News 9 was used in this report.