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Ybor City Chamber Plans Havana Trip

Carol Highsmith, Jan. 10, 2010
The Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.
The Havana Capitol was built from April 1, 1926-1929 and cost 17 million pesos. After the Revolution in 1959, the Capitol became the headquarters of the Academy of Sciences of Cuba and then the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment.

The Ybor City Chamber of Commerce is using renewed relations between the Obama Administration and government of Cuba to re-establish the link between the “Cigar City” and Havana.

Larry Wilder is chairman of the chamber.  He said Havana and Ybor are a natural fit since the Cuban capital pretty much gave birth to Tampa's cigar industry when so many cigar workers moved here in the late 1800s.

So, Wilder said, the Ybor Chamber is arranging a five-day cultural tour of Havana from September 25-29, 2015.

“The trip is set up to where we’re going down and talk to historians, talk to people who are  involved in restoring Cuba and how that is effective there. And how they’re related there and what we’re doing also in Ybor City,” Wilder said.

Wilder is an architect who specializes in preservation.  He wants to re-establish the cultural link between Havana and Ybor City and expand it to include architectural preservation, art and music.

He said the visit is not about business or politics.

“People from Phoenix, people from Denver Colorado are going down there talking to those folks and here we are in Tampa. It just makes sense for us, especially Ybor City, to look see and start reaching out,” Wilder said.

He expects about 25 people to sign-up for the Ybor City Chamber of Commerce Havana tour but said there’s room for more. The itinerary and details are available here.

Bobbie O’Brien has been a Reporter/Producer at WUSF since 1991. She reports on general news topics in Florida and the Tampa Bay region.
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