Florida Governor Rick Scott has threatened to cut state funding for any Florida ports looking to do business with Cuba.
The warning from Scott, delivered over three posts on Twitter on Wednesday, comes as a Cuban trade delegation visits the United States this week to explore possible trade opportunities with port authorities along the U.S. East and Gulf coasts. The delegation was scheduled to visit with officials at Port Everglades on Thursday.
“Disappointed some FL ports would enter into any agreement with Cuban dictatorship,” wrote Governor Scott on Twitter.
“I will recommend restricting state funds for ports that work with Cuba in my budget.
“We cannot condone Raul Castro’s oppressive behaviour. Serious security/human rights concerns,” Scott said.
Earlier this week a containership operated by Jacksonville-based Crowley Maritime arrived in Port Everglades carrying the first commercial cargo legally imported into United States from Cuba in more than five decades. The shipment, two containers of Cuban charcoal, is legal under executive orders by former President Obama seeking to normalize the United States’ relationship with Cuba and ease trade, travel and financial restrictions imposed under the 1962 Cuban embargo. Crowley has maintained regular service from the United States to Cuba since 2001, currently operating from Port Everglades in Florida.
On Thursday, Port Everglades tweeted that it does no plan to sign any agreements with the Cuban delegation this week.
National Port Administration of Cuba says no need for MOU at this time. However, today’s business meeting will continue as planned.
The Trump administration has yet to make any formal decision on U.S.-Cuba policy, but President Trump has vowed to scrap Obama’s executive orders on Cuba if he doesn’t “a better deal”.