It is no secret that Jeff Bezos’ father, Mike, is originally from Cuba, which would mean that the Amazon CEO himself has a Cuban heritage, right?
No, Jeff Bezos is not actually Cuban even though his father Mike is from Cuba. Mike is not Jeff’s biological father; he is Jeff’s adoptive father. This means that Jeff Bezos doesn’t have any Cuban blood relatives, but he does have his entire adoptive Cuban family.
You can read more about Mike Bezos leaving Cuba and how his Cuban background played a part in Jeff Bezos’ life.
Who Is Jeff Bezos’ Adoptive Father, Mike?
Miguel Bezos, who also goes by the name Mike, was born in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba. His mother was a house wife and his father owned a lumber mill. During his childhood, there were a lot of shootings and violence towards the government until Fidel Castro began his uprising. Fidel’s first coup attempt happened around the time that Mike was nine or ten years old. The coup failed and Fidel ended up in prison.
When Mike was in his early teens, Castro along with his guerrillas, pulled off the second coup attempt after the then president Fulgencio Batista fled the country. Mike has recalled that his parents were supporters of Castro in the beginning and that “the large majority wanted to get rid of Batista and re-establish an elected government.”
However, Castro kept holding off on the elections until eventually they were cancelled completely. This was the first sign the Bezos’ had of just how bad things were about to get in their country.
Why Did Mike Leave Cuba?
The cancellation of the elections came when it was announced that Castro would be putting in place a communist government. This was when the country began to nationalize all foreign businesses and Cuban businesses after that.
When the schools closed and reopened with communist curriculums, Mike Bezos’ parents decided to pull him out so he could work at the family lumber mill. This business was soon taken over by the government as well. Mike reflected in an interview with the National Museum of American History that “I was in the office with him when the army came in with the papers that said they would be taking over the business.”
After their family business was taken away, Mike’s parents became aware of a visa they could apply for that would allow Mike into the US as a refugee. They feared for their son and his future under this new unpredictable regime so they applied. A year later, Mike boarded a plane to the United States as a refugee in Operation Peter Pan.
You can watch Mike Bezos recall what happened to him in his family in Cuba by following the below YouTube link.
Jeff Bezos’ Cuban Upbringing
Apart from his father Mike, Jeff Bezos does have some relatives from Cuba in the United States. When Mike left Cuba, his cousin Angel left only one day later. The two were sent to Wilmington, Delaware for high school and they still keep in touch today.
Mike has also said that he is still in touch with a lot of the people he met when he was involved with Operation Peter Pan. This means that although Jeff Bezos is not Mike’s biological son, he has certainly been exposed to a lot Cuban culture growing up. He also has a half brother and half sister who do have that Cuban heritage. Oh, and Jeff’s mom? Well, Mike has said “My wife makes some amazing Cuban food, and my kids love Cuban food.”
Even though Jeff Bezos is not Cuban, his adoptive father is from Cuba. That meant that Jeff was heavily exposed to the culture and heritage of his dad who says that he has “never lost that Cuban identity.”