As part of Community Conversations, we asked the following question to readers on social media and the Public Insight Network recently: Is Miami the best place for the Cuban consulate? Thanks for all of your responses. Below is a sampling of your comments, some of which were edited for length and clarity. Learn more about the Public Insight Network and comment on previous discussions at MiamiHerald.com/community and select Community Conversations.
Yes. We are the nearest big city to Cuba and we have a strong young Cuban population. Older Cubans (like myself) need to get over it. It’s been 60 years. All of the protesting based out of Miami has done absolutely nothing to improve the situation in Cuba. Time to get over it, have relations with Cuba, have a consulate, stop the sanctimonious grandstanding. We, as a nation, conduct business with the worst of the worst. What’s the problem?
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Marcelo Salup, Coral Gables
Not under the present Cuban leadership. It will only bring problems to Miami, especially between the older Cuban generation and their now adult children, and the new generation. They view Cuba differently. The new generation goes back and forth, lives here some of the time, there for months. Elián [González] opened old wounds. This would further infect them.
Juan Varona, Miami
Miami is the place for a Cuban consulate. For it not to be, would undervalue the Cubans’ contribution to Miami. Not to mention the struggles they’ve endured for freedom and family, like many immigrants. So to ignore the hard work of so many, to appease the shortsightedness of the few would be dishonorable and insulting. Miami should be the only place for a Cuban consulate, to honor the Cubans, those present to witness this but more for those who have passed. If they were still with us, they’d be singing La Cuba Mia from Ceila Cruz. For the love of their island and the hope of its future.
J.C. Exposito, Miami
Key West is the best place for a Cuban consulate because of its historic ties to Cuba, historic Cuban population and diminished number of Cuban pretenders.
Rick Eyerdam, Miami
No. All we need to do is see the history of the Venezuelan consulate in Miami. It closed amid constant protests and huge expense to the City of Miami in added policing and security. And the Venezuelan government’s crimes mirror those of its sponsoring terrorist state, Cuba. Every time Cuba beats, jails and/or kills its opposition, you can expect massive protests and civil disobedience directed at the source — the Cuban consulate. In addition, Cuba has proven that it utilizes spies and clandestine activities out of its consulates to try to infiltrate and neutralize democratic opposition to the tyrants governing the island. Is this what we want to invite into our community?
Gabino Cuevas, Miami
Miami is the best location for a Cuban consulate. However, the animosity and shortsightedness that Miami’s older Cuban Americans have towards the Castro regime make Tampa the best location for the consulate. It will become a great asset to their city. And Miami will, once again, sacrifice the good of the people for political purposes.
Stephen Dorsey, Hallandale Beach
Miami is not the best place for now. Out of respect to some Cubans living in the area, they should think of Broward or Palm Beach instead.
Fred San Millan, Miami
A definite yes. Miami is the closest major city to Cuba. With the new normalization of relations between the the U.S. and Cuba, it makes sense to locate it here. Miami is the largest cruise port in the world and new voyage schedules are in place by the major cruise lines scheduling regular trips to Havana from Miami. Eastern Airlines now flies there on a regular schedule. Having the consulate open here will increase commerce to our city and also provide some additional jobs, both of which will be needed to help support the new wave of thousands of Cuban refugees on their way here. The quicker we normalize relations and establish business ties, the faster the Cuban Adjustment Act can be repealed, thus discouraging future waves of preferential immigration from Cuba.
Bruce Lamberto, North Miami Beach
Yes it is, the purpose of a consulate is to serve as many people as it can. Miami is the place where most travelers to Cuba live; there is nothing we can do, at this point, to break diplomatic relations with Cuba again. So, swallow it in and eat it with Cuban bread.
Mara Houstoun, Miami
As a member of the younger generations of Cubans, I would be excited to see a Cuban consulate opening here in Miami. I feel its presence here will reaffirm to me my heritage and my Cuban roots. As a second-generation American, my connection to Cuban culture comes from my abuelos, and in a diluted way from my parents. Many American-born Cubans have been robbed of their right to be and feel Cuban because of the embargo. So, personally, I’m glad things are opening up. However, I can foresee a lot of anger surrounding the opening of a Cuban consulate here in Miami coming from older generations of Cubans that had family members torn from them because of the Castro government. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were violent protests or even attacks at the opening.
Anya Contreras, Miami
While Tampa could be a short-term solution, it is Miami that will benefit the most from increased commercial ties. Once a consulate is established it is very unlikely to change location and Miami will later regret passing up the opportunity.
Blaine Zuver, Miami