Estonia now has its own consul in Miami

From left, Ambassador of Estonia to the United States Marina Kaljurand, Honorary Consul of Estonia in South Florida and Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado gather at Feb. 24 ceremony to officially recognize the Honorary Consulate of Estonia in Miami.
From left, Ambassador of Estonia to the United States Marina Kaljurand, Honorary Consul of Estonia in South Florida and Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado gather at Feb. 24 ceremony to officially recognize the Honorary Consulate of Estonia in Miami.
Sergio Alsina / For the Miami Herald

To better link the Republic of Estonia with South Florida, the ministry of foreign affairs in the Northern European nation recently appointed an honorary consul for its new Miami office.

Jorge L. Viera, a retired executive from Northern Trust Bank and current member of the board of BAC Florida Bank, said his mission is simple: “Raise awareness of what each region can offer.”

“We want to promote Estonia and offer assistance to Estonians,” said Viera, who operates from an office in downtown Miami and is originally from Cuba.

The nation, which gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, is in the Baltic region and has a population of about 1.5 million, said Viera, who worked with Estonians in the banking industry.

He said Estonia is technologically advanced, citing the software for Skype, the video communication tool, being created in Tallinn, the capital.

“I don’t think people are aware of all of the good things in Estonia,” he said.

His appointment means he is confirmed by the U.S. State Department and Estonia to represent the nation. Unlike consul generals, honorary consuls are not employees of the government of the nation they are representing.

So far, Viera said the Miami office — officially dedicated late last month at a ceremony with Marina Kaljurand, Ambassador of the Republic of Estonia to the United States, Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado and Estonia’s Consul General in New York Sten Schwede — has been operating for a few months. The office has helped about 40 Estonians with document and passport issues.

While not entirely clear how many Estonians are living in South Florida, Viera said it is believed about 3,000 live in the region. He said having an office in South Florida — only the second in the state — gives Estonians an option for help without having to go to New York where the Consulate General of Estonia is located. The other Florida office is in St. Petersburg.

Evi Kallas, the secretary of Estonian National Association of South Florida, said having an honorary consulate is a welcome addition.

“Florida is a big state and there are quite a few Estonians here,” she said. “I think it’s a great idea to have some representation here.”

Kallas, whose husband Arno is the president of the club, which serves about 150 people, said “Estonians seem to hang together like a flock of birds.”

“We look for each other and try to help each other out,” she said.

Estonia joins several other nations that have honorary consulates in South Florida, including the Czech Republic, Guyana and Luxembourg. There are also several nations that have consulate generals in South Florida including the Bahamas, Brazil, Israel and Mexico.

Read more Miami-Dade stories from the Miami Herald

  • Friends and Neighbors

    Friends and Neighbors: Campaign raises money to feed hungry school children

    Local food banks want to help children who often go hungry get what they need to thrive in school. Community support is needed.

  • Friends and Neighbors

    Florida Mayors join forces to say no to bullies

    Looking back at my growing up days, I can remember how school bullies tried to made life miserable for me and a lot of other youngsters. I remember being followed home one day by a bully who wanted to start a fight. When I kept ignoring her, she soon turned, with her followers and went home. Unlike some of today’s bullies, she didn’t try to hit me. She was just all mouth, spitting out insulting remarks.

  • Crime Watch

    Crime Watch: How to protect your children online

    School will be starting soon and many of you emailed me regarding the social network sites that your kids will be using this year. Nowadays it’s not just the computer at home but also their smartphones. You need to consider blocking your kids’ phones from some of these sites. Check with your telephone carrier to see what programs they have to offer in protecting kids.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category