The Tampa Airport and Tampa Port makes Tampa Bay uniquely positioned for a Cuban Consulate. The Tampa Port is the closest, largest port in the world to Cuba. There has been high demand for flights to Cuba since President Obama started relaxing restrictions on travel here in 2009. Tampa Airport currently has the second busiest flight to Cuba. “I think the initial importance of a Cuban consulate is to provide convenience to Cuban Americans based in Tampa and central Florida,” remarks Bill Carson, President of Tucker Hall. Cuba is also a jumping off point to have relations with other Latin American countries.
The Tampa City Council approved a proclamation supporting a Cuban Consulate in Tampa on April 2nd, 2015. The Pinellas County Commission has not weighed in on the location of a Cuban Consulate. Commissioner Janet Long and Commissioner John Morroni have both visited Cuba in a fact-finding trip. Although there is not yet a specific figure on the economic impact of this consulate, having this consulate on either side of the bay will strengthen Cuban relations, bring more exports and imports to the two regions, and further economic opportunities with Cuba’s market of 11 million people. Therefore, the Tampa Bay area must remain united in bringing a Cuban consulate to this area.
The Public Policy Council proposed the following resolution:
“(The Greater Tampa Chamber and St. Petersburg Area Chamber) Supports establishment of a Cuban Consulate locally upon completion of normalized relations.”
Motion was unanimously passed by the Public Policy Council on February 2nd, 2016 and unanimously passed by the St. Petersburg Chamber’s Board of Governors on February 3rd, 2016.