The first duty of government is to protect its citizens. Opening a Cuban consulate in Miami-Dade will needlessly endanger the lives and security of South Florida residents and would be a failure of governance.
However, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and Commissioner Ricky Arriola, apparently ignoring this concern out of the belief that there are commercial opportunities in engaging the Cuban dictatorship, are advocating opening the consulate in Miami Beach.
Their highly publicized meeting in Cuba demonstrates why this is a bad idea. They met with Gustavo Machin Gomez, a “Cuban diplomat” who was expelled from the United States for his espionage activities and in 2012 was involved in the suspicious death of Cuban opposition leaders Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero.
A Cuban consulate in Miami-Dade would operate as an espionage center used to target Cuban exiles, American military facilities in the area, and other targets.
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The U.S. government and the American and Cuban people would like to see an end to the Cold War, but unfortunately the regime in Cuba would like to see it continue as can be seen by it smuggling tons of weapons to North Korea in 2013 and through Colombia in 2015.
Ignoring this reality will only lead to tragedy for our community and our country.
John Suarez, Miami