Tampa council trip to Cuba opens old wounds

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Tampa City Council Chairwoman Yvonne Yolie Capin says a trip to Cuba later this week is about the future and establishing relationships.

“It’s for the future. It’s for when those doors open with Cuba,” said Capin.

For some, the trip is opening old wounds.

Rafael Pizano with Casa De Cuba in Tampa believes the trip is a mistake.

“They’ve labeled it as an official trip and yet the city is not paying for this trip. Second, this is a very sensitive subject considering who they are meeting with down there in Havana. We have expelled diplomats who have been expelled from here in Washington for espionage in the United States. They are meeting with people of those likes down in Havana,” said Pizano.

Capin denies she or anyone from her group will be meeting with known spies.

“I’ve heard some of the names, I have no idea who they are talking about. I’ve never heard of them. I’ve never met with them. This is my sixth trip to Cuba, I don’t know what they are talking about,” said Capin.

Capin and Tampa City Council member Harry Cohen are going on the trip along with several Tampa City business leaders.

The visit comes at a time when the U.S. State Department is advising U.S. tourists not to go to Cuba because of sonic attacks that have injured U.S. and Canadian diplomats.

Councilman Cohen says he’s not concerned about being attacked while in Havana.

“It does seem like a complicated situation and what I would say is that the airlines are still flying, the cruise ships are still going and we are just going to continue on with our plans,” said Cohen.

Pizano maintains trips like this accomplish very little.

“Cuba has given nothing. It’s been since December of 2014, the U.S. has given quite a bit. Cuba has not given anything, they have not moved forward on anything on human rights or on any aspect,” said Pizano.

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