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The Republic of Florida is a nation in North America, comprising the former Confederate state of Florida. It is renowned for its neutrality and pacifism, although it is widely believed to be a major zone for illicit trade.
After the CSA collapsed, the future of Florida was uncertain. While it was a profitable agricultural state, producing cotton, sugar and tropical fruits alike, it was considered by many to be hot, swampy and ridden with disease. Attempts to annex it into the ICMAG or Louisiana were rebuffed through military or diplomatic channels.
Henry Morrison Flagler the second, a high ranking executive within Rockefeller’s sprawling corporate empire, came to the small republic hoping to gain the sole right to construct Florida’s rail system. However, he observed that Florida’s water was clear, its sands were clean, its climate was eternally temperate and perhaps most importantly, the land was cheap. He journeyed across the republic buying tens of thousands of acres of land, building the railroad for his company but making certain that its routes would increase the value of his recent acquisitions. The rail lines brought both people and jobs to Florida. As new cities began to sprout from the coast, he built a series of resorts in areas his people scouted out and determined were perfect for tourism. Even as the foundations were being laid he started to advertise Florida’s climate and beauty in both Europe and the American North. The city of Miami soon became a bustling resort town attracting the global elite and their money to Florida’s fair shores. By the beginning of the 20th century Florida had becoming one of the world’s major tourism destinations. Although Flagler was nether native or young, the people of Florida elected him presidentby a vote of 94% to 4% (the other two percent divided up quite small), a position he served until his death.
Since then, Florida has maintained a policy of strict neutrality, broken only by a brief war with the ICMAG during the North American War over Floridian arms sales to the Supremacy League.
Despite the turmoil of the Americas Florida is remarkable for its stability and near absolute neutrality. While its economy has always gone between periods of boom and bust, it remains one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Americas. Miami itself is home to some of the largest and most renowned casinos in the Caribbean. Tourism is not the only industry in Florida; it has an extensive rum and tobacco industry developed largely by its massive Cuban population. Florida’s nearly non-existent taxes have earned it a reputation as a tax shelter and a banking center. The elite from throughout the ICMAG, Caribbean and South America all come to Florida as a means of dodging taxes and hiding their assets. This has in turn brought an astoundingly lucrative albeit highly illegal business straight to Florida’s doorstep.
Columbia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru all share America’s proclivity towards revolution and internecine warfare. While traditionally they have been seen solely as exporters of cash crops and raw materials; they are among the world's major producers of cocaine. Florida has become a principle transit node for the illicit substance and Miami is the principal site for the laundering of its profits. The cocaine trade has help make Miami's real-estate values up to amongst the highest in world while creating some of the nation's biggest internal problems. Florida’s government is plagued with corruption on account of the drug trade and the intense competition for market share has led to endemic warfare between the state's various criminal gangs and syndicates. The most notable criminal leader in Florida is Mikaiel Demirdjian, a Russian expatriate of Armenian ancestry. He rose high in the ranks of the Ukrainian Mafia, eventually being sent to Miami in order to safeguard it’s role in the coke trade. He is one of the most wanted men in Russia but so far all attempts to capture and extradite him have failed.
Florida has recently been experiencing a sizable wave of immigration, brought about by both the North American War and the ongoing unrest in Cuba. While its northernmost counties suffered greatly from neo-confederate siege and occupation during the ICMAG Civil War, the everglades and Floridian National Guard proved to be an insurmountable barrier for further advances. As a result of the War, and subsequent declines in tourism revenue, Florida has been enduring a five year recession. These loses are unofficially being made up for by increased smuggling on the part of its black market.
Florida's politics are considered both chaotic and corrupt; elections are infrequently held and routinely condemned by international observers. Party systems are marginal to non-existent, with factions forming based entirely upon monetary interests. In the 2000 election, Simon Perez, a wealthy Florida businessman, formed his own party, the People's Rally for the Independence of Florida (frequently abbreviated PRIF), in order to contest the election, in which he won both the presidency and a plurality of seats in the unicameral Florida National Assembly. However, in 2003 PRIF broke down into a series of factions over a bribery scandal, in which over half of PRIF's members were encouraged to defect to parties controlled by Perez's rivals. No party has ever won more than one Floridian election, or indeed survived for more than 10 years.
The president serves as head of the executive, and wields wide-ranging powers, which date from Henry Morrison Flager's extensive economic reforms of the 1930s. Presidential elections involve large numbers of candidates, making it not uncommon for candidates to win based on less than 50% of the popular vote. Indeed, Simon Perez, the incumbent president, won the election on a 37% share of the vote.
The legislature, the 150-seat Florida National Assembly, is renowned for its corruption; party loyalties are almost non-existent, with bribery and blackmail common in order to win votes. A particularly notorious example was in 1983, in which President Daniel Graham was impeached by a vote of the Florida National Assembly for involvement in drug trafficking, and replaced with his vice-president Lawton Chiles. It was later revealed after Chiles' death that Chiles had both faked incriminating evidence in order to frame Graham, bribed the National Assembly in order to impeach him and later had Graham assassinated in order to secure his silence.