Miami Beach mayor invites Castros to open Cuban consulate

After returning from his vacation with fellow totalitarians Fidel and Raul Castro, Miami Beach Mayorlevinecuba Philip Levine wants to invite his new friends back home for a barbarian barbecue. So he’s floating the idea of opening a Cuban consulate office in his city.

Some people are not so eager to welcome that.

There was a small protest last week in front of City Hall. Commissioner Michael Grieco has proposed a resolution to oppose the consulate (more on that later). Even former Commissioner Jonah Wolfson, a onetime Levine ally, has gone on the airwaves and local TV to blast the idea. And there will likely be a lively discussion tonight at the meeting of the city’s Hispanic Affairs Committee.

“The Cuban-exile community has been an important part of Miami Beach’s success and identity. As such, the opinions of the Cuban community should be considered and respected when forming an official position on such a sensitive matter,” said committee chairman Alex Fernandez.

“As a son and a grandson to Cubans who lost everything while fleeing their country, I have a very strong personal opinion on whether a Cuban consulate should be welcomed in Miami Beach. However, as an appointed member to this committee, it is my duty to ensure that my vote properly represents the opinion of you – the community – not myself,” Fernandez said in a statement.

“This is a decision we need to make together as a community,” Fernandez told Ladra, adding that he knows full well how difficult it will be to represent everybody.

“I empathize and join in solidarity and demand the respect of the Cuban exile community that lost everything to the Cuban Castro regime and that suffered a significant loss of loved ones,” Fernandez said. “I also think we need to listen to those who are separated from their family and would like to visit their family on the island.

“We are grateful that we can have a diversity of opinion here, whereas in Cuba you cannot,” he said. “We need to give those poeple in Cuba the example that as Cuban Americans we are able under the rights guaranteed to us to be at the table and come to an agreement on how we can move forward on such a delicate issue.”

Former Mayor Matti Herrera Bower went on Radio Mambi Monday morning to urge people to go to the meeting and voice their opinion. “If it’s going to be done, it should not be done without the public’s input,” she said.

“I would have never done that and it looks like a slap in the face to the Cuban community that has suffered so much. But if people do not express themselves then it looks like it was well done. What we need is for people who are against it to speak,” Bower said.

“There are people who have suffered who have lost so much. Some of them have been jailed,” Bower said. “The president expects changes in Cuba. We should wait until those changes come, until there are human rights in Cuba, and then open the consulate.”

But then Miami Beach might have more competition. Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado has already soundly rejected any kind of Cuban consulate in his city, and we assume it is until there are real democratic changes in the island country he fled as a Pedro Pan child.

The Miami Beach Hispanic Affairs committee meeting is at 6:30 p.m. today at City Hall, 1700 Convention Center Drive.

What they should also take up is how Levine and Miami Beach Commissioner Ricky Arriola —rickyphilipcuba both of whom were elected with a lot of Cuban American senior support — went to Cuba without the approval or even prior knowledge of the rest of the commission, becoming the first elected officials from the 305 to do so in more than 50 years.

They didn’t go as private citizens. They went as Miami Beach electeds riding Obama’s tyranny train. Although they were not part of the official POTUS trip, they timed it so it would look that way and Levine — who obviously has political aspirations beyond the Beach and is rumored to be eyeing the Governor’s mansion — gave multiple TV and radio and print interviews.

The two — who were followed around by their political consultant, Christian Ulvert — were ferried about by government officials and treated like dignitaries. They got government-run tours and practiced tai-chi in Revolutionary Square. They got official gifts and returned the favor with a commemorative Miami Beach coin of their own.

They had a sit-down, face-to-face interview with senior KGB-trained Cuban spy Gustavo Machin.

It’s as if Levine was really at home in the oppressive regime that is Havana.  No wonder he wants to bring a bit of Havana home with him.