It’s long been rumored that St. Pete is in the running to be the home of the Cuban Consulate. Mayor Kriseman announced in a Facebook post that the Cuban Ambassador to the US, José Ramón Cabañas, will visit the Burg this weekend and deliver formal remarks on Saturday. Time and location for the remarks are TBA.
Large Cuban population in the Tampa Bay area
In 2014, the Cuban-American population in the St. Pete-Tampa-Clearwater area was at about 2,819,241. The Tampa Bay region remains a popular hub for travel between the US and Cuba. New direct flights from Southwest Airlines at TPA, and cruises to Havana through Carnival Cruise Lines have helped connect our area to the country.
This spring, after a nearly six decade hiatus, the St. Pete-Habana Regatta set sail from the Yacht Club marking a continued improvement in US-Cuba relations. Back in August, the Cuban Consular General and his deputy from the embassy in D.C. enjoyed a visit to St. Pete that was a mix of business and pleasure. The pair were scouting for consulate office space in the Sunshine City.
Travel milestones represent growth in US-Cuba relations
The main function of the consulate is to facilitate trade and kinship between two countries, as well as provide passports and birth registration services for visiting or resident American citizens in a country. Consulates may also issue visas for foreign citizens to visit, study and work in the US.
From the United States Diplomacy Office:
A consulate conducts commercial, information, education, and exchange programs to develop business partners and potential customers for US companies, work with the media and public entities to explain US policy, and encourage academic, scientific and artistic exchanges. They often have reference centers where foreign citizens can come to learn about the United States through printed and online media.
*Header image via Crisijuan0 on Wikimedia Commons