Florida real estate used to be sold by men and women who’d offer northerners a piece of paradise by the beach that turned out to be swampland in the Everglades, where if you survived the alligators and snakes, the mosquitos would finish you off.

Nowadays we have men and women who sell ideas they label “good for the community.” All the while they’re stuffing pockets — their own and those of their friends — while fleecing those most in need. These are men and women who tell you they’s like to see less government involvement (a Republican talking point, by the way) in our lives. Interestingly, these same persons don’t mind government when it is dishing out money for their projects.

One such case appeared in El Nuevo Herald, a story written by Nora Gamez and Patricia Mazzei about former University Miami professor Jaime Suchlicki. The project concocted by the professor is one that will study the opportunities offered Miami after Cuba is “free.” Suchlicki, with the help of state legislator Daniel Anthony Perez, is seeking $250,000 from Florida taxpayers in order to make this study a reality.

“This study will prepare Florida to be at the forefront of business opportunities with a free Cuba (a Cuba that respects human rights, offers open elections and has a democratic government), at the time it occurs,” Rep. Perez told the Herald writers.

How the money will be spent is interesting. One hundred twenty thousand goes to pay Suchlicki; $90,000 will be paid to Pedro Roig, who worked for Suchlicki at the UM’s Institute of Cuban and CubanAmerican Studies (ICCAS). Roig now works for the new independent ICCAS started by Suchlicki after his recent ouster from that University of Miami program.

Like most new projects it is an institute in dire need of money. Based on both the executive’s salaries, though, it looks like it will be money spent by these two former UM employees to get them through a year of unemployment while they seek out more money to keep the “free Cuba” gravy train rolling.

There’s also $15,000 slated for trips and another $25,000 to be used for consultants.

I’m not exactly sure why Suchlicki was tossed out of the UM, but I am convinced that part of the reason was that ICCAS, under him, had become outdated and an institute trying to reinvigorate an issue that had lost its luster many years ago. Yet Suchlicki is still at work as if trying to reinvent the Ford Model T in a time and a place where we have autos that now drive themselves.

As for Miami and a “free” Cuba, I’d like to see THEIR definition of freedom. If it’s anything like we practice here, or worse yet, the so-called democracy being practiced in Tallahassee, our state capital, then call me a non-believer in anything that will cost us, yes, you and me, a quarter million dollars.

Anyway, I do not need a study by the University of Miami, or any of its flunkies, to tell me opportunities offered to the south Florida community if we were allowed to do business with Cuba like we do business with any other country in this hemisphere. The fact is that individuals like Suchlicki and Roig, and now the young politician Perez, are the persons who for years have kept us from what studies, already conducted, tell us that a relationship with Cuba, minus the embargo, would signify for this area: about a billion dollars a year to our economy, and at least 40,000 good-paying, new jobs.

And for those who tell me that $250,000 in the scope of thing is not much money… I will bring you six people right now who would love to have a state job that pays them almost $42,000 a year. I assure you these persons would get more done in favor of most Floridians, than the ICCAS balloon Suchlicki is currently trying to inflate.

It’s not about Cuba; it’s the Florida economy, stupid

Also recommended:In Miami some are being ignored by more than the politicians

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