Miami Beach Commissioners Vote Against Cuban Consulate

The Miami Beach City Commission has voted against establishing a Cuban consulate in the city.

In a narrow 4-3 vote Wednesday, the commission said no to the possibility, citing a need for human rights reform in Cuba.

Wednesday's meeting turned into a shouting match at times with those opposed voicing their concerns.

Last month, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and Commissioner Ricky Arriola told Cuban government officials that they'd welcome Cuban diplomats in their city.

"What we are saying is in the future we can have dialogue, see what is going on, we can watch what happens in the Cuban government with the Cuban people," Levine said. "I think we can revisit it again."

Commissioner Michael Grieco sponsored a resolution opposing the consulate, calling it a bad idea.

"We are telling the U.S. government that we do not want a consulate here in Miami Beach and that we want to put this behind us and we want to get back to business of the city," Grieco said.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said he would not object to the consulate. Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado has strongly opposed any suggestion that his city might house the Cuban government, even threatening to sue in federal court.

A public hearing was held Monday to discuss the possibility in Miami Beach.

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