Chamber takes steady Cuba course
It is characteristic of the high emotions surrounding Cuba that the Greater Tampa of Commerce was attacked by both sides when it scheduled a four-day tour of Cuba. Those who oppose any relations with the socialist nation, of course, didn't like the business organization going at all. Those who want to restore relations with Cuba criticized the chamber for not being more ambitious and arranging a trip where the delegation would meet with top Cuban government and business leaders. They dismissed the trip as mere tourism.The trip was much more than that, as the 37 participants found in the morning-to-night sessions. The sessions included a mix of informational meetings and tours that allowed participants to experience and learn about the beautiful but impoverished nation that appears to be toying with the idea of a market economy. So we give Chamber President Bob Rohrlack and his team great credit for holding course. They understood it would be presumptuous to even think about conducting official business on the initial trip. Rohrlack recognized, "This is the first page in what we hope will be a long book." Thanks to the Chamber's thoughtful, nonpolitical efforts, Tampa business leaders now have a solid base from which they can investigate future Cuban relations.