The Governor of Florida, Rick Scott, tweeted warnings to ports in his state that they should not sign memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with Cuba.
His threat comes while a delegation of port officials from the communist island is visiting six US ports, three of them in Florida. That mission had included plans to sign MOUs in each port.
But Governor Scott says he will recommend withholding state funding from any ports that do so, citing political objections to the Cuban regime, particularly on its human rights record.
Scott’s action appeared to have an immediate effect as the ports – Port Everglades, Port of Palm Beach and Port of Tampa Bay – said they would sign no agreements. However, they also said they will continue to receive the Cuban delegation.
Earlier this week a Crowley Maritime container ship delivered the first legal commercial shipment from Cuba to the US in more than 50 years, a development made possible by the thawing in relations that was started in December 2014 by the just-departed administration of President Barack Obama.