Tampa Taxpayers Flip Bill for Cuba Trip

Friday, July 24, 2009
According to the St. Petersburg Times, Tampa City Council member Mary Mulhern used about $1,300 in taxpayer money to pay for a trip to Cuba.

In doing so, Mulhern spent almost half of the $3,100 in discretionary funds that are given yearly to each City Council member.

During the trip, she met with Castro regime officials, including the head of Alimport, the only company in Cuba authorized to engage in international trade.

Mulhern didn't bother to engage with ordinary Cubans, as they are prohibited from conducting business activities.

Ironically, Mulhern is spending taxpayer funds to pursue ties with the Castro regime as businesses from other countries are severing such ties, for the Cuban authorities have abruptly frozen nearly $1 billion dollars in foreign bank accounts on the island since January 2009.

Think about it, Mulhern could have spent half her discretionary budget traveling to any country in the world, including those that respects their citizen's human, civil and political rights, and perhaps even countries that respect contractual obligations. Yet, she chose Castro's Cuba.

A down payment, of sorts, on further loses to come for Tampa's taxpayers.