Oh, we’ve heard it a billion times from Cuba “Experts”: how the Cuba “embargo” costs U.S. businesses “$billions(!!!) in lost opportunity!” blah…blah….
“The new air service from Tampa International to Cuba is great news for our community’s economic future!” (Gushed Florida Rep. Kathy Castor in 2011 when Tampa-Cuba flights were approved.)
“These flights will greatly expand opportunities for increased engagement between the two countries and facilitate legal travel to Cuba for business leaders….” (Gushed Bill Hauf owner of Island Travel & Tours Ltd.)
That was then (little over a year ago.) This is now:
Since the flights began in late 2011, one of the three Cuba charter carriers is leaving Tampa, a second is dropping one of its two weekly flights and the third is maintaining two weekly flights but losing money.
Those difficulties have prompted one of the carriers (Bill Hauf’s Island Travel & Tours Ltd.) to seek (taxpayer) assistance: Have Tampa International create a marketing program that would promote the Tampa-Cuba flights in cities with nonstop flights to Tampa.
The marketing message: Going to Cuba? Fly to Tampa and catch a flight from there.
Tampa International Airport is owned by the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority (i.e. Hillsborough County taxpayers.) It is incumbent upon these, we’re now given now to understand, to dig into their pockets to line those of Bill Hauf and Raul Castro.
By the way: (Hauf) estimates he’s been to Cuba more than 100 times in the last 16 years.
By the way: “in the 90’s Bill Hauf helped distribute a magazine called “Business Tips on Cuba” published by Isidoro Malmierca, Cuba’s then former foreign minister.” Malmierca was also a founder of Cuba’s Communist party during the beginnings of Stalin’s Great Terror and “helped organize the Castro regime’s state security structure.”under KGB, GRU and STASI tutelage.
We’re shocked that the Tampa Bay Tribune did not seek the “expertise” of the eminent and oft-quoted Director of Media Relations for the (the Castro family’s) GAESA Enterprises on this issue?