Miami-Dade County leaders effectively blocked a Cuban consulate in Miami Wednesday. The vote was essentially symbolic because the federal government decides where to place a consulate.
Nonetheless, commissioners sent a clear message about rejecting a diplomatic outpost, as hundreds of Cubans will soon be making their way to Miami.
Last week, 180 Cuban migrants departed Costa Rica for the United States, and the thousands who remain will soon follow.
According to a spokesperson for the Costa Rican Foreign Ministry, the next flight departs Feb. 4 with the same route as the pilot program. This time, however, priority will be given to families with pregnant women and children.
As many migrants have their eyes on Miami as a final destination, county commissioners took on a hot button issue: the possibility of a Cuban consulate in Miami-Dade.
"The same community that has been beaten and had to run out of that country and flee that country and now pay taxes in this country have to foot the bill to protect a bunch of dictator lockies who would be in that consulate," said Commissioner Esteban Bovo.
"Miami is the most logical place to come. We have to start healing somewhere," said Commissioner Barbara Jordan.
Commissioner Bovo proposed the resolution urging President Obama's administration to refrain from establishing a Cuban consulate in Miami-Dade County, pointing to other options like Tampa and New Orleans.
Nine commissioners agreed with Bovo's resolution, three did not, including Cuban American Commissioner Xavier Suarez.
"I have a lot of respect for Commissioner Suarez. I would've preferred him to vote the way I would like for him to have voted, but hey, for all of us it's a lot of soul searching," Bovo said.
City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado said a consulate here would affect peace and stability. He also said he would sue the federal government if they pursued the idea.