Miami has a large professional diplomatic corps funded by nations from around the globe, dozen of smaller nations get their diplomatic feet on the ground by serving their nations with honorary consuls.
Four years ago there were 67 honorary consuls posted in Florida, the largest groups surrounding the area of Miami.
The primary role of honorary consul is to promote business and cultural ties, but most importantly to assist citizens of their country who reside or travel to the US, all at no cost to the country that appoints them.
The honorary consul is appointed by a country to represent its inerests in cities around the globe, without providing compensation, often as a result of having business or family ties in the counry they represent.
“It is a personal gratification”, mentions Jorge Viera, honorary consul of Estonia. “It’s a position of prestige. He was selected and appointed before retiring from his 33 year service with Northern Trust Bank. “They tought it a good opportunity to have someone raise awareness about what Estonia can offer”
Often the countries don’t have financial or human resources to appoint a career consul. The honorary consuls promote cultural ties, make introuctios, sometimes aslo help the citizens travleling or studying in the US to navigate the bureaucracy.
Per article by B. Venegas in Miami Today, May 30, 2013.