Cuba reopens embassy in Washington, D.C.

An historic day that saw diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba re-established was met with a mixture of emotions among Tampa leaders and members of the Cuba-American community.

The Cuban flag was raised outside the communist island’s newly-opened embassy in Washington D.C. during a ceremony Monday.

Several Tampa leaders, including City Councilman Charlie Miranda, applauded the landmark event.

"In the long run it's about the people, it's about opportunity, it's about suffering and it's about change," Miranda expressed.

The council has made clear its support of a renewed diplomacy between the countries. In April, it unanimously passed a resolution welcoming a consulate to Tampa, should one be established.

"I believe so because, historically, it should happen here," Miranda added. "The relationship that Tampa has had with Cuba far outlasts any city in Florida and I think that at the end of the day, the consulate will be in the city of Tampa."

But several leaders in Miami, which has a larger Cuban-American community than Tampa, are distancing themselves.

It's a point not lost retired Col. E.J. Otero of Tampa, a leader in Bay Area Cuban community.

"There is no desire in Miami to have a consulate there," he explained, adding he questions the timing of the establishment of an embassy. "Could it have been done later once we got a commitment from the Cuban government that certain conditions are going to be met?"

Otero said he would have hoped the U.S. would have required the Cuban government commit to addressing human rights concerns that have existed for decades while the Castro family has been in power.

Many of those issues are among the reasons families, including Otero's, fled the communist country.

"I do have misgivings," Otero said. "That same government that did that in the 60's is the same government that we have today. There has not been a change in people."

The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce has also come out in support of bringing a Cuban consulate to Tampa, although it's unclear if it will happen.