The Fanjul flak: Typical Miami schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is nothing new to Miami. But the recent uproar caused by a piece on Cuban American sugar tycoon Alfy Fanjul takes the cake. It also demonstrates what many have been saying for the past few years: the Cuba debate has pivoted towards one where even a stalwart of the past half century Cuba-thought now yearns to return to the island of his birth.

Alfonso Fanjul

Alfonso Fanjul

“If there is some way the family flag could be taken back to Cuba, then I am happy to do that,” said Fanjul to Washington Post reporters, adding that “his primary motivation in visiting Cuba has been a desire to ‘reunite the Cuban family.’”

Fanjul, it turns out, has visited the island a couple of times the past few years as part of a Brookings Institution delegation, and in the process has met with Cuban officials and discussed business opportunities on the island.

[Are you listening President Obama? These are words that should put your creative juices flowing. Because Miami is ready for whatever pleasant (to a majority of us) surprise you may offer for the island nation. Not only are we ready; we’re anxious for something fresh and new. And all that’s needed is a signature from you. Think of it as an autograph of great worth in the years to come. Your name on a document that seals your Latin American legacy. And it will be a positive one… the day you decide to overcome your jitters on the issue.]

But let’s get back to the fun. Well, Miami is known as the fun and sun capital of the world, isn’t it? And schizophrenia, although serious, can have its comic side effects.

Note the crazies pouring out of their closets after reading the aforementioned Washington Post article titled “Sugar tycoon Fanjul open to investing in Cuba under ‘right circumstances’”.

Crazy number one was Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen who turned that ever-present smile upside down and attacked Fanjul in a press statement referred by some in the media as “surprisingly personal.”

Marco Rubio was "surprised and disappointed."

Marco Rubio was “surprised and disappointed.”

Then there was Florida’s two-faced senator who has the ability to stand on either side of any issue – and defend it. Marco Rubio stated that he “was surprised and disappointed.”

“We should not ignore the systemic violations of human rights in Cuba,” added Rubio. These are words from a person who defended not funding Medicaid for 850,000 persons in Florida, most who cannot afford health insurance. But still, he talks of human rights…

There was also Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart who claimed to be “outraged.” Not to be outdone, the Miami Cuban airwaves hurled insults and epithets at Fanjul 24 hours a day. In fact, I think they are still on that roller coaster. No wonder Armando Perez-Roura always looks dizzy.

I cannot leave out Mauricio Claver-Carone, director of Cuba Democracy Advocates in Washington, DC, a lobbying group, who went as far as to threaten Fanjul and his family with a quid pro quo that’s not unusual in Mauricio’s world, where money is what’s most important in the business of politics.


Claver-Carone basically said that such statements as Alfy made to the Washington Post might affect his yearly multi-million dollar sugar subsidy provided by the U.S. government. First, Mauricio’s words could me misinterpreted as an attempt to extort. And secondly, I didn’t realize that Mauricio wielded as much power as he purports by making such threats.

The truth is I found the whole charade of the past week funny. And after reading the Fanjul piece in the Post, I immediately re-printed it in Progreso Weekly (and had it translated to Spanish in Semanal). I knew it would have this type of reaction, which then puts on display these sickly attitudes from certain Cuban Americans.

Schizophrenia is nothing new to Miami. But the recent uproar caused by a piece on Cuban American sugar tycoon Alfy Fanjul takes the cake.

Schizophrenia is nothing new to Miami. But the recent uproar caused by a piece on Cuban American sugar tycoon Alfy Fanjul takes the cake.

But what puzzles me, because I am not a psychiatrist, were the schizophrenic reactions. Here is one of their own proposing to do in Cuba what Ileana and Mario and Mauricio and so many others have been proposing for years – to change the rules of the game. And when he expresses it, they are all over him like rampaging lice on children in a kindergarten class.

In my opinion Alfy Fanjul doing business in Cuba would be a dream come true for these folks. They just have not realized it.

Have they forgotten that the Fanjul family has turned the welfare system for millionaires into an art form? Don’t they realize that the Fanjuls and their sugar business in Florida are greatly responsible for the destruction of great swaths of the Everglades putting in danger the future of our most precious water source here in this state?

Ileana, don’t you get it? Mario, can’t you see? The Fanjuls exploit the U.S. government and its taxpayers. Sound familiar? They’ve also endangered the future of our state. Another dynamic I dare say you should be familiar with.

So what’s the big deal? Maybe the Fanjuls yearn to bring that circa 1958 Cuba exploitative style of government back to the island. Oh how you must yearn for those days…

And you idiots still complain!

Exploitation. Come on… you’re masters at it here in South Florida and in the U.S Congress.

You refuse to raise the minimum wage, which only helps to create more poverty in this country. What do you think the Fanjuls do to their farmworkers whose toil is responsible for their billions?

So what is the problem? In Alfy and his brother you have two masters of this universe. And again, they want to bring it to Cuba.

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