What’s it all about, Alfy?: Fanjul family patriarch puts his money on Castro dictatorship
If you really want to know how the vile and murderous Castro dictatorship has managed to survive for more than a half-century, you do not have look much further than Cubans themselves. It is true that the cause of freedom, the desire for liberty, the honor of our dead, and the dignity of our brothers and sisters still in chains have been the values that have kept the opposition against the Castro dictatorship both on and off the island alive and kicking for over five decades. However, there is another value that some Cubans find too irresistible and is sadly measured by dollar signs instead of memorials for the dead.
As we reported here in 2012, Alfy Fanjul, the leader of the powerful Cuban American Fanjul family, had pretty much already decided that when it comes to Cuba, honor and dignity are not money makers. If you want to make money in Cuba, you have to deal with the island's slave masters.
Apparently, Alfy Fanul still has no problem with that. Forget about values such as honor, dignity, or reverence for the blood spilled by tens of thousands of Cubans fighting for freedom; the only value that counts for Alfy apparently has a $ in front of it.
Sugar tycoon Alfonso Fanjul now open to investing in Cuba under ‘right circumstances’
Alfonso Fanjul fled Cuba as a young man, leaving behind his family’s mansions and vast sugar-cane fields as they were being wrested away by the communist Castro regime.
In exile in the United States, he built an even larger sugar empire, amassing one of North America’s great fortunes and befriending members of Congress and presidents who benefited from his largesse. The sting of his family’s forced departure from Cuba led him to become one of the principal funders of the U.S. anti-Castro movement.
Now, contrary to what almost anyone could have imagined, the 76-year-old Fanjul has begun to reassess old grievances and tentatively eye Cuba as a place for him and other U.S. businessmen to expand their enterprises. Quietly, without fanfare, Fanjul has started visiting the island of his birth and having conversations with top Cuban officials.
“If there is some way the family flag could be taken back to Cuba, then I am happy to do that,” Fanjul said in a rare interview, publicly discussing his recent visits to the island for the first time.
Fanjul’s about-face is a startling development for the exile network that has held a grip on the politics of U.S.-Cuba relations for decades and has played an outsize role in presidential campaigns. His trips place him at the vanguard of a group of ultra-wealthy U.S. investors with roots on the island whose economic interests and political clout are pushing the two countries toward a thaw in their half-century standoff.
Fanjul, in the interview, said repeatedly that his primary motivation in visiting Cuba has been a desire to “reunite the Cuban family,” referring broadly to the Cuban diaspora and those who remain on the island. Business considerations could be explored only if there are political and diplomatic advances, he said.
“The [Fanjul] family was in Cuba for 150 years, and, yes, at the end of the day, I’d like to see our family back in Cuba, where we started. .?.?. But it has to be under the right circumstances,” said Fanjul, who is best known by his nickname, “Alfy.” “One day we hope that the United States and Cuba would find a way so the whole Cuban community could be able to live and work together.”
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