Miami moves to cement Madrid ties
By Meisha Perrin
After prolonging their handshake by almost four years, Miami and Madrid are looking to recommence and sign a sister city accord now more than six years in the making.
Both cities had approved the agreement in 2008 and were awaiting signatures of then Miami Mayor Manny Diaz and Madrid Mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón to seal the deal.
But the signatures were never collected as both mayors had schedules that interfered with the agreement's progress, according to Isabel DeQuesada, executive director of Miami's Mayor's International Council.
"It was approved in principle but never got through with logistics," she said, "so now we are revisiting it."
Three months ago, City of Miami officials visited Madrid on the way back from Santander in northern Spain and signed an agreement to allow Madrid to establish a Miami satellite office of Goberna America Latina, an institute headquartered in Madrid that trains emerging Latin American politicians.
And according to Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado, Madrid's current mayor, Ana Botella, is eager to move the sister city relationship forward.
The Miami-Madrid tie would be important for investment from Latin American business, according to Mr. Regalado, and Spanish links in a city with a large Hispanic population could benefit many of the city's sectors.
"We offer the culture of Latin America with the security of the US," Mr. Regalado said. "People want guarantees for their investments."
Sister cities set the groundwork for trade and other business opportunities and cultural and educational exchanges between partnered cities.
Miami is looking to forge a sister city relationship with Beirut, Lebanon, after signing its accord with Madrid.
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