Possible Cuban Consulate Divides Tampa, Miami

MIAMI (AP) _ Now that Cuba has an embassy again in Washington, it may open consulates as well, and Florida is a likely spot. But Miami and Tampa, the cities with closest links to Cuba, take opposing views.

Officials in Miami want no part of a consulate. The city’s politically powerful Cuban-American population is heavily influenced by those who fled Fidel Castro’s 1959 communist revolution, and for five decades since then, have kept their opposition fires burning.

Tampa’s smaller and politically weaker Cuban-American community was formed generations earlier _ by people who left the island during the era of the Spanish-American War of 1898, which led to Cuba’s independence from Spain. Tampa’s leadership sees the opening of relations with Cuba as an economic
opportunity, thinking a consulate would enhance Tampa’s position.