Tampa and Miami worlds apart in attitude on Cuba

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The Florida Center for Investigative Reporting describes how the City of Tampa has ramped up its efforts to make Cuba a future trading partner. Business leaders are more vocal about opportunities once the Caribbean nation opens up.

In Miami, the attitude on Cuba is a different story.

Business leaders on Florida’s east coast are much more conservative about Cuba. Many are in favor of continuing the 40-year-old embargo, fearing retribution if they speak out publicly. In secret, however, a few admit to wanting the embargo lifted. Some businesses are even secretly preparing for when the time comes.

The irony is that Miami has the most to gain if trade with Cuba is re-established. That is why Tampa is working so hard—with multiple visits to Cuba by city and business leaders—with the hope of establishing direct flights and using the Port of Tampa as a trade point.  

Demographics are key to Tampa’s moderate attitude about Cuba. Most of the city’s Cuban-American populations are decedents of cigar producers who emigrated in the late 1800’s, whereas Miami’s population relates more directly to the political upheaval of Fidel Castro in the 1950’s.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.