Carlos García-Vélez

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Carlos Garcia-Velez writes:

“During thirty years, I worked for one of Florida's most important financial institutions, AmeriFirst Bank and eventually became its president. During my career there, the bank became the principal source of mortgages for the emergent Cuban colony at the end of the sixties and during the seventies. At the time, there were no Latin banks in Miami. The AmeriFirst provided jobs for hundreds of Cubans at all levels. At one point more than 60 percent of its executives were Cuban. I dare say that we played an important role in the economic success of our community, especially the high percentage of home ownership among our people.

“In 1989, AmeriFirst Bank was sold, and I retired. I continued working on the board of directors of various companies and as a consultant, but I had more spare time to get involved in Cuban matters. It was then that I had the good fortune of learning about Institute of Cuban Studies, established a strong friendship with Maria Cristina Herrera, and got to know an excellent group of academics. I had and still have many close friends who do not share the Institute's ideas and perspective. I had hoped to be a bridge among Cubans of good will and, to some extent, I was. I established a working relationship with the Catholic Church, especially with the now deceased Cardinal John O'Connor of New York. With the help of good friends who occupy important positions in the US business world, I have made a modest contribution to the well-being of the Cuban people by sending medicine and food to the island." [1]

In 2003 he was a board member of the Memory, Truth and Justice: Comparative Perspectives on National Reconciliation.

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