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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida sugar king Fanjul looks toward business opportunities in Cuba

3

February

What follows is from the Washington Post:

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.

Full story here.

[Last modified: Monday, February 3, 2014 12:00pm]

    

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