Greco’s Cuban Trip: Why He Did It

A fortnight ago Mayor Dick Greco was ground zero in a raging, geopolitical firestorm over his furtive foray to Cuba. His press conference, an emotional, meandering mix of sentiment, philosophy, rationales and travelogue outtakes, didn’t satisfy most of the media. Very little does.

Explaining a trip to Cuba and a meeting with Fidel Castro — given all the political nuances– is inherently dicey, especially if you’re wont to wear your emotions on your sleeve.

Here’s one columnist’s take on why the mayor did it. The reasons are as multi-faceted as the mayor himself.

* Curiosity: The mayor has long been, well, smitten. You don’t grow up in Ybor City — of Italian and Spanish descent — without an acute sense of Cubans and their homeland. Vestiges of the grandeur that once was had to be seen first-hand. Intimations of mortality only added to the sense of exigency.

Moreover, increasing numbers of Americans of influence and standing, including some in the mayor’s own circle of acquaintances, had gone. A number are Anglos. After a while, the well-intentioned, informative, second-hand accounts were becoming gnawing reminders of where the mayor himself had never been.

“I don’t hate anyone,” says Greco. “But I understand why anyone would hate Castro. I’ve seen what they left. It was gorgeous

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