Miami vs.Tampa

Different Views of Cuba
       Lizette Alvarez, a Cuban-American, was born in Miami in 1964. She graduated from Florida State and Northwestern, then was an award-winning journalist for the Miami Herald. Since 2011 Ms. Alvarez has been the Bureau Chief in Miami for the New York Times. Her coverage of the U.S.-Cuban conundrum is both excellent and fair despite her strong emotional ties to it. This month she penned an insightful article entitled "Going Way Back with Cubans, Tampa Leads Push Forward." Sharply contrasting Tampa with Miami, she wrote: "Today, Tampa sees itself as pivotal to Cuba once again: The city is taking the lead in the Obama administration's effort to rekindle diplomatic ties with Cuba, a move that runs counter to the anti-engagement orthodoxy of Miami and Florida's state government." {New York Times; May 2nd, 2015}
         Lizette Alvarez in the NY Times made it plain that Kathy Castor, Tampa's representative in the U. S. Congress, exerted a major influence on President Barack Obama's decision to normalize relations with Cuba. The President took special interest in Congresswoman Castor's 2013 trip to Cuba on behalf of Tampa businesses that seek business with Cuba. Ms. Alvarez wrote: "Tampa politicians have lobbied for closer ties for years. A turning point came in 2013 when Representative Kathy Castor, a Tampa Democrat, called for the end to the economic embargo and traveled to Cuba on a fact-finding trip. Calling the 5-decade embargo a failure, Ms. Castor said she had decided the best way to help Cuba's citizens and push the country toward more openness and democracy was through closer contact. Her position played a role in Mr. Obama's decision, political and business leaders said." Congresswoman Castor confirmed that she and Tampa had influenced the President. Ms. Castor told Ms. Alvarez: "I think the Tampa community gave him greater political space and support to turn the page." Quietly, she opposed the more publicized and moneyed Miami radicals. 
         This Melissa Lyttle photo was used to illustrate the aforementioned article by Lisette Alvarez in the New York Times. It shows a mural in Ybor City, a section of Tampa that lavishly celebrates its Cuban heritage. Ms. Alvarez pointed out that Jose Marti in the 1890s and Fidel Castro in the 1950s frequented Tampa to gain support for their revolutions -- Marti's vs. the Spanish domination and Castro vs. the Batista dictatorship. But long before that, Cuba's ties to Tampa were paramount. In fact, Cuba to this day owns some land in Ybor City. Ms. Alvarez wrote: "The land is home to Jose Marti Park and the Tampa deed still reads 'Estado Cubano,' the Cuban State." A rich Cuban back in the 1950s had donated the land to Cuba.
Tampa is 331 miles from Havana.
As this map indicates, Tampa is due north of Havana.
Travel Weekly envisioned this Tampa-to-Havana ferry.
     As I have said many times in this space, U. S. Congresswoman Kathy Castor of Tampa has long advocated the sanest, most decent, and most democratic approach to U.S.-Cuban relations -- a policy that would benefit her constituents, most Cubans, most Americans, and most Cuban-Americans. It is unfortunate, I believe, that U. S. televisions "news" networks pretend they don't know Kathy Castor exists while they fall all over themselves letting the Miami members of Congress vent their vitriol endlessly. I have stated before that President Obama was greatly influenced by Ms. Castor's recommendations. So I am glad that Lizette Alvarez, the New York Times Bureau Chief in Miami, has acknowledged the positive influence Kathy Castor has so bravely and decently rendered on President Obama and on U.S.-Cuban relations.
Kathy Castor for President?
Well, she's not owned by Wall Street or radical billionaires. So, she gets my vote.
{At least as a write-in candidate!}

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