Libro - Book
Miguel Angel Falla: The Cuban Sugar Industry.
Bilingual, English - Spanish
This book is both a biography about an extraordinary individual and his world as much as a condense overview of Cuba’s flagship Industry for many centuries, Sugar. It offers documentary evidence of Cuba’s economy as well as the social mores of the times and a glimpse at some powerful individuals.
Chapter I offer the reader the opportunity to know not only about the life of Miguel Angel Falla but, also the background of the era. The parallel references to Miguel Angel’s uncle, Laureano Falla Gutierrez, the founder of the sprawling Falla sugar and other businesses, provide excellent material for those interested in the early phases of Cuba’s business world. Of significance is how, after Cuban independence, at the suggestion of the US Governor, the General’s of the Insurrection Army went, one on one, to persuade wealthy Spaniards not to leave the Island. Out of such efforts, a close friendship and business partnership was latter forged between General Gerardo Machado and Laureano Falla Gutierrez, a Captain in the Spanish Volunteers Corp. So close was the friendship and the honorable reputation of Laureano that, later on, his word was the only bond that Machado used to seal a political pact with another presidential candidate of the Liberal Party to support his nomination to the presidency.
The anecdotes about John Loeb’s first trip to Cuba and his latter involvement with the country and the Falla family offers an excellent glimpse of early Cuban-American relations and the business and social mores after the Great Depression and through the fifties. So as in many biographies the references to “the times and places” rivals in interest those of the subject proper. This Chapter can be considered a foreshadowing of the short biographies that will provide four to six Chapters, on as many individuals in each book in the Series.
Chapter II, entitled, Memories, is unique to this book. In the series, the testimonials will be blended into the body in the same way it is done in Chapter I, including, if available, quotes of letters from the subjects. In keeping with the objective of the Series, a note on what these five testimonies tell us, without saying it, is in order.
First, the four men went to work at entry-level clerical jobs and without a college education. All of them left the Industry, when Fidel took it over, with one or more University Degrees. They went to the University, while working, with the encouragement of Management and taking advantage of Cuba’s free and highly respected Universities. Paraphrasing Medardo’s statement they entered the mill as "guagiro cerrao" and left the company with University degrees. Is that the Capitalist exploitation that Castro claims for Cuba’s past?
The fact that Mr. de la Cruz and Mr. Rocio kept Miguel Angel’s letters and their anecdotes about him, tells volumes in dispelling the lies about a social division in pre 1959 Cuba. Certainly, not every one was like Miguel Angel, taking personal care of his employees during periods of illness, talking and laughing with them after dinner, drinking goat’s milk at every farmer’s house, as he inspected the fields, and opening his house and his heart to his employees. The Captains of Industry series will however, probe that there were more Miguel Angels than the likes of "robber barons" of Castro’s propaganda.
Finally, as evident from the references to Miguel Angel, his father, his brother Laureano, other members of the Falla Gutierrez family this was not a group of rich absentee owners. As those that know the industry will attest, most were hands on managers-owners. Their families may have moved to nearby towns or eventually to Habana, but they followed where business dictated and circumstances permitted. Obviously, in a regulated industry that exported more than ninety percent of its production and imported equipment and key industrial chemicals, offices in the Capital were a must. It was in Habana where the mill owners could manage their relations with the Government and Trading Houses and best handle their foreign purchases, however they kept their presence in the Mills during the repair and milling seasons.
Chapter III, places Miguel Angel in the context of the mills he commanded. It gives production and technical details of the three mills of the Sucesion Falla Gutierrez, which Miguel Angel managed, and later the ten mills of The Cuban Atlantic Co.
Chapter IV, "Cuba and the International Sugar Market", briefly reviews the history of Cuba’s sugar production from its beginning in 1523 through the wars of Independence. The years as a Republic are divided in several periods according to the main events in the sugar market, including the Depression and World War II. After 1959 the political directives determine the periods. The first covers the time when, u
This makes a great gift, or for another upcoming event.
Esto seria un gran regalo, o para otra cercana fecha señalada.
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