One of the reasons the communist Castro dictatorship has endured for so many decades despite its murderous oppression and failed policies is unfortunately the support of Cuban Americans. During his long stay in New York City, the Castro regime’s sock puppet president met with several activists and business leaders, and many of them were Cuban Americans. Like the dictatorship they support, these Cuban Americans appear to be only interested in the huge profit potential the continued suffering of the Cuban people offers. Sometimes, your worst enemies are your own people.
Who met with Diaz-Canel during his visit to New York?
As part of his agenda in New York, Cuban dictator Miguel Díaz-Canel held several meetings with entrepreneurs and activists close to the Havana regime or interested in doing business with the longest-standing dictatorship in the hemisphere.
According to a report from El Nuevo Herald, on Thursday the 21st, the Cuban leader met with artists sympathetic to his government, such as Danny Glover, the founder of Bridges of Love, Carlos Lazo, the coordinator of The People’s Forum Manolo de los Santos, and Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink. Earlier that day, he had met with American scientists and activists.
The following day, Miguel Díaz-Canel met with representatives of American companies and Cuban Americans from the business community to announce that the Cuban government is considering allowing Cuban Americans to invest in and own businesses on the island.
CubanNet presents a summary of some of the figures who shared the same space as the Cuban ruler in these meetings.
He is a recognized Cuban-American professor known for his ties to the Cuban dictatorship. His name gained visibility in April 2018 when he traveled to Havana with a group of his students. Following the impact of that trip, he decided to create the projects “Factory of Dreams” and “Bridges of Love” (Puentes de Amor, PDA), through which he manages and sends tons of groceries and medicines to the country.
Lazo is known for his activism against American sanctions on the island. His dedication has led him to make headlines in Cuban state-run media and also in ONCuba, a press outlet registered in Havana with the approval of the government. The independent outlet El Toque also published a text praising the professor.
Lazo has already met for two consecutive years, in 2021 and 2022, with President Miguel Díaz Canel in the Cuban capital, and now they meet again on U.S. soil.
Miguel Benito Fernández arrived in the United States in 1964 at the age of just 12, after the communist government confiscated his family’s businesses. As a teenager, Miguel helped his parents start over from scratch. As an adult, he began selling insurance on the streets of Miami. He later became a multimillionaire by buying and selling healthcare companies.
Mike Fernández is one of the wealthiest and most influential Cuban Americans in the United States. He is recognized as an advocate for migrants, and for most of his life, has supported the Republican Party. During Barack Obama’s presidency, Mike shifted away from a hardline policy towards the Castro regime and jumped on the thawing relations bandwagon. The entrepreneur was one of the guests invited by the former president to accompany him on his official visit to Havana in 2016. He even reviewed the U.S. president’s speech before he delivered it at the Gran Teatro de La Habana.
He is the president of the Cuba Study Group. In 2004, Carlos Saladrigas was described as “the moderate face of the Cuban exile.” Around that time, he traveled to Madrid as a spokesperson for a supposed transition to democracy that would come to Cuba through economic openings. He did not strongly oppose the embargo, but did request that the sanctions be more selective to avoid affecting the citizens or fueling the aggressiveness of the Cuban government. Almost 20 years later, the businessman’s discourse is more or less the same. Although today he not only talks about reversing Trump’s sanctions, but also about Joe Biden approaching the Cuban regime. Carlos’s speech focuses mainly on business and profits, not so much on human rights violations on the island.
Saladrigas left Cuba at the age of 12 and studied Business Administration at Harvard University. He founded his own business in 1984, which he grew and sold in 1999. In that year, he began to participate more actively in U.S. policy towards Cuba.
Just a week after July 11th, the White House announced that advisor Cedric Richmond and the director for the Western Hemisphere at the National Security Council, Juan González, held a Zoom meeting with Cuban American leaders, who offered their recommendations directly regarding Cuba. Among the participants were the president and CEO of the CSG, Carlos Saladrigas.
Hugo Cancio, the owner of Katapulk and who now imports cars to Cuba, is not just an ordinary Cuban American. During Barack Obama’s administration, he stood out as one of the main faces of the diplomatic thaw between Cuba and the United States.
Cancio is also the owner of magazines like ONcuba and ART OnCuba, which the Cuban regime allowed to register in a country that criminalizes and persecutes independent press. Cancio has his office in a building in the Vedado neighborhood of Havana, overlooking the Malecón.
During the pandemic, the entrepreneur joined the lucrative online commerce business.
Through his store Katapulk, he sells essential goods to emigrants for their families on the island.
The American lawyer has a track record of supporting the Democratic Party and policies that allow for closer ties with the government of Cuba. On his own website, he describes himself as “at the forefront of Cuban-American political reform for over a decade.”
As a member of the Cuba working group, Mr. Patiño “has been a prominent voice in progressive discussions with political, public, and key industry figures in an effort to invigorate the future of U.S.-Cuba relations,” details the website.
The lawyer presents himself as one of the contacts to reach out to if an entrepreneur wishes to invest on the island. His network of contacts and knowledge in this regard guarantee “optimal results,” regardless of the complexity of the project.
Currently, Ralph Patino collaborates closely with the Engage Cuba coalition in their efforts to bring the U.S. administration closer to the island’s dictatorship.
In addition, Mr. Patino works in close collaboration with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Cuba Business Council, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the island, among others, his website adds.