September 20, 2021

ALERT: Group Already Protesting Cuban Consulate In Miami Beach Ahead Of Public Discussion

cuban+consulate+protestersMIAMI (CBSMiami) – Locals are already voicing their opinion on whether Miami Beach should be the new home to a Cuban consulate, ahead of an official public meeting.

City officials have asked the community to join in a public discussion on whether the consulate should be located in the city.

“The Cuban-exile community has been an important part of Miami Beach’s success and identity. As such, the opinions of the Cuban community should be considered and respected when forming an official position on such a sensitive matter. We cannot forget and we must empathize with the exile community which lost everything while fleeing Castro’s dictatorial rule,” said Chairman of the Miami Beach Hispanic Affairs Committee Alex Fernandez.

While the meeting isn’t until April 11th at 6:30 p.m. at Miami Beach City Hall, protesters are already crying out.

“No Castro in South Beach! No Castro in South Beach!” a small group of protesters chanted.

Vigilia Mambisa is opposed to a Cuban consulate here.

“The consulate in Miami Beach means disrespect to the Cuban martyrs, to the Cuban community and to the Jewish community which is part of this community,” said Olga Gomez.

The noontime protest brought out staunch anti-Castro Cuban Americans who said an arm of the Cuban government has no place here.

“No Castro, no problem. We cannot be friendly with Cuba, a communist place that has murdered a lot of people,” said another Vigilia Mambisa member, Romy Jimetas.

The meeting comes after Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine said he open to a Cuban consulate in the city – a topic that has caused an uproar in Miami and Miami-Dade County politics.

“We would like to see the consulate welcomed in Miami Beach in the future, if that were to come about,” Levine said.

The mayor along with Commissioner Ricky Arriola had a private meeting with officials at Cuba’s Foreign Relations Ministry last month while visiting Havana.

“There is a need to service our constituents who are clearly going to be traveling to Cuba to visit loved ones and that necessitates a consulate somewhere,” Arriola said. “I think it should be located where the large population centers are.”

It’s a different story in Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami which houses the largest Cuban-exile population. There is a diplomatic stalemate over housing a Cuban consulate.

Miami refuses to have a Cuban consulate and the other option, Tampa, is considered to be too far.

Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado, whose father was once a political prisoner in Cuba, opposed a consulate in the city and has threatened to sue in federal court.

As for Miami-Dade County, commissioners passed a resolution in January for the U.S. to keep a consulate away from the county.

That decision is not up to the local governments. Even if Miami Beach does lobby for consideration, it would have to go to a full commission for a vote.

In the meantime, Cuba already has an embassy in Washington that opened last July.