The Tampa Bay Rays beat the Cuba national team in Havana Tuesday with Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro in the front row; St. Petersburg City
Council member Darden Rice says that kind of exposure can only help the MLB team’s home town.
“Well, it’s so exciting: we have our President, our Congresswoman [Kathy Castor], our Mayor [Rick Kriseman] and our baseball team in Cuba right now making history. And whether it’s baseball or the arts, St. Pete is in such a great position to build bridges with Cuba. And Cuba’s changing. The younger generation sees a lot of possibilities. They don’t hold the same grudges that their grandparents do. There’s just a world of possibility. We need to work with them and work with them on their terms. And it’s great that it’s our hometown baseball team that’s just one more element of building those important bridges with our neighbors Cuba.”
Havana, Cuba — “I just witnessed President Obama’s historic speech in Cuba. We believe the best way to promote our shared values in regards to Cuba and throughout the world is through engagement. As President Obama said here at the beginning of his speech regarding the terrorist attacks in Brussels, ‘We must be together regardless of nationality or race or faith in fighting against the scourge of terrorism.’
“As I have said before, nothing is more important than the safety of the families of my neighbors and all Americans. We must ensure that law enforcement, intelligence agencies and military service members have the tools they need to keep us safe. I will continue to work to provide the resources and the will to ourselves and our allies. We will keep America tough and smart and safe.
“In an uncertain world, it is vital to build bridges and ease tensions with other countries. This can both diminish the threat of terrorism and foster cooperation to fight and destroy those who would engage in it. I am proud to join with my neighbors and all Americans to say that today we are all Belgians.
“And while here in Cuba, ‘todos somos Americanos’ because this historic visit is fundamentally about the very real family connections that exist between Cuba and my community of Tampa Bay, and indeed our entire country. The stories the President told of families finally reunited after decades are stories we know well in the Tampa Bay area and underscore that we are ‘bound by blood and a belief in one another.’”