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Cuban Trade Embargo Forum at SPC

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From The Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions:

With the recent move by President Obama to normalize relations with Cuba, a door to economic opportunity has been opened to Tampa Bay business, cultural and educational interests. But should that door be opened without a commitment by Cuba’s Communist government to significant human rights reforms? Or, since the trade embargo has failed to produce much progress toward human rights in more than 50 years, is it time to try a new strategy?

Those are the questions that will be debated by a panel of prominent local leaders at a forum sponsored by the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College and the Global Action Coalition. The forum, titled Cuban Trade: Economic Opportunity or Human Rights Betrayal?, will be from 6-8 p.m. June 30 at the Poynter Institute, 801 Third St. S., St. Petersburg. Admission is free, but advance registration is requested at

Debating the pros and cons of easing the trade embargo will be:

  •  Janet Long, Pinellas County Commissioner who led a local delegation on a good-will visit to Cuba last fall
  • Patrick Monteiga, Editor and Publisher of La Gaceta weekly newspaper in Tampa and frequent traveler to Cuba
  •  Col. E.J. Otero, (U.S. Air Force, ret.) former senior officer at Central Command and Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base
  •  John Wilson, former anchor, Fox Channel 13, will serve as moderator.

Relaxing of the trade embargo offers a special opportunity for the Tampa Bay region, which has a rich history of relations with Cuba as well as airports and deep-water ports capable of handling increased trade with the island nation. Miami, which might be considered the natural hub for such commerce, is home to 850,000 Cuban exiles, many of whom strongly oppose easing of the embargo until political prisoners are released from Cuban jails and reparations for confiscated property are made.

Advance registration is requested at For further information, call 727-394-6942.

Header photo by Gregory Smith (flickr creative commons).

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