Three council members from the city of Tampa, Florida will be enjoying a long weekend in communist Cuba as VIP guests of the island’s repressive apartheid dictatorship. It seems that Tampa has now become a hotbed for apologists and proponents of the vile Castro regime. This motley crew of elected officials and community leaders led by U.S. Representative Kathy Castor are expending large amounts of energy and money to defend and promote the lawless regime of the Castro family, which is the bloodiest dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere.
Three Tampa City Council members heading to Cuba this week
There’s no Tampa City Council meeting this week — typically, the council doesn’t meet on the fifth Thursday of a month — and that’s probably a good thing, since nearly half the council will be out of the country.
Council members Yvonne Yolie Capin, Harry Cohen and Mary Mulhern joined a 30-member delegation from the Greater Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce that is scheduled to head to Cuba today and return on Sunday night. It will be the third trip for Mulhern, the first for Capin and Cohen.
“For me, I really am hoping to come back more educated and knowing a lot more than I do now,” Cohen said shortly before leaving for the airport. “I’m trying to keep a very open mind and really want to just soak up and learn as much as I possibly can.”
The council members’ travel is not being paid for by public money, and City Council attorney Martin Shelby issued a memo Tuesday saying that the trip would not violate Florida’s government-in-the-sunshine law.
According to the license issued for the trip by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, the council members’ itinerary calls for “a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities” that “will result in meaningful interaction between the travelers and individuals in Cuba,” Shelby wrote.
By design, he added, the trip is social, with no official meetings scheduled with members of the government in Havana. Moreover, he said the council members are not traveling in their official capacities, and the council has “no final authority to act upon initiating trade or business with Cuba.”
Consequently, Shelby wrote, the Sunshine Law does not apply.
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