April 23, 2007

The Three Marias

Three of the five women selected to receive awards from Hispanic Business Magazine are Cuban; Maria Elena Lagomasino, from Asset Management Advisors LLC; Maria Martinez, from Microsoft; and Maria Azua, from IBM. The three Marias have made a decided dent in the contemporary business world, and I tip my hat to them as a celebratory symbol of their hard work, accomplishments, and ensuing broken stereotypes.

It can’t be easy to achieve such success in what is, traditionally, a man’s world, but these women have knocked down walls and made all of us take a new look at old conventions and bad habits that have traditionally passed for reason and logic.

Generally speaking, I’m not always a fan of Hispanic Business Magazine’s pandering to what is, essentially, the white/oppressive/conquering business world. They’ve rarely featured a “Latino” that opposes the embargo against Cuba, and I can only imagine boardroom meetings in which White (Hispanics) still use phrases like “being tough on Communism” and “the Red scare…” and where “traditional values” are seen as a good thing… As far as I can tell, they’ve never opposed the use of terrorism against Cuba.

But even I was happy to see Maria Elena Lagomasino’s smiling face on the cover of the April 2007 issue as the 2007 Hispanic Business Woman of the Year.

The magazine also honors 15 other women, which will be honored with the three Marias at the Fifth Annual Hispanic Business Woman of the Year Gala in Las Vegas, on April 26.

My congratulations to all the women mentioned. I’ve always believed that if we had more women participating in government and business, we would have a more humane society.


April 02, 2007

Visitors from Cuba

Cuban Americans often find ourselves in situations where a visiting friend or relative is overwhelmed by the consumerism of modern American society. Just a walk down the cereal isle at any major supermarket can be a daunting experience for some.

Buying a car is another experience that a visiting Cuban will not soon forget, as I was recently told by a visitor who went along as a family was buying the first car for their teenage daughter. They visited four or five dealerships, and looked at about 10 models with five or six different colors. Some were two-seaters, others four-doors, and a few SUVs. Some had sunroofs, others didn’t. How do you pick one car when there are so many to choose from? And why does a teenager need a car in a city with one of the best public transportation systems in the country?

Some aspects of modern culture are down right absurd… how many I-Pods does a person need? How many game consoles? How many TVs should a 3-bedroom house have? And should each TV have its own home theater system and cable connection? Should children share movies and games, or does each child require her own copy of Lord of The Rings and Star Wars?

We generally shower our visiting relatives with love, gifts, stories and travel experiences… but when they return to Cuba, we return to supporting men like Carlos Gutierrez and Posada Carrilles.

May God forgive us.