Florida Five: South Fla. divided over Cuba embassy, Civil War re-enactors defend Confederate flag

Five of today’s top Florida political stories at your fingertips:

Cuban and American flag
Photo credit: NBCMiami.com

South Florida reacts to US, Cuba embassy announcement – As the United States and Cuba agree to open embassies in each other’s capitals, support among South Florida’s Cuban community appears to be divided by generational lines. President Barack Obama announced the agreement Wednesday at the White House. The U.S. Embassy in Havana is scheduled to open later this month, according to Associated Press reports. It represents the biggest tangible step in the countries’ historic bid to restore ties after more than a half-century of hostilities. Read more

Commercial flights to Cuba move closer for Tampa — Regular flights on commercial airlines from Tampa International Airport to Cuba have moved a step closer now that the U.S. and Cuba have agreed to open embassies in one another’s capitals for the first time since diplomatic relations were severed in 1961. That’s one affect the Tampa Bay region may see soon as a result of the announcement Wednesday. Read more

Civil War re-enactors defend Confederate flag through controversy – Gary Newman spends each winter traveling Florida, dressed in authentic Civil War-era gear. He has participated in hundreds of battle re-enactments. The 62-year-old Hudson resident often portrays southern fighters and said he uses the Confederate flag for historical accuracy. “The Confederate flag — the battle flag — was what soldiers followed into battle,” he said. “That is entirely appropriate.” Read more

Appeals process means uncertain legal future for mandatory abortion waiting period law —A law creating a 24-hour mandatory waiting period before a woman would be allowed to get an abortion went into effect Wednesday after Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi filed an appeal staying a circuit court judge’s block of the law. Appeals aren’t entirely common, but Bondi took the reins of her legal authority to stay Circuit Court Judge Charles Francis’ emergency injunction Tuesday evening. Read more

10 Florida members of Congress call on Gov. Scott to dump this year’s testing results – As this spring’s Florida Standards Assessment results continue to trickle out, a group of Florida’s congressional delegation on Wednesday asked Gov. Rick Scott to stop the process. Contending the outcomes are tainted because of myriad computer problems during the testing period, the 10 members — nine Democrats and one Republican — have suggested that the scores cannot be dependable. Read more

ICYMI: Florida car dealer facing fines for American flag display stands his ground

Bonus video: Shark capsizes fisherman’s kayak in Florida

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