I’m sure you’ve heard of Amazon if you’ve had to do any online shopping in the last few decades, which means you’ve probably heard of the mastermind behind the billion-dollar marketplace, Jeff Bezos. Have you ever heard of Miguel Bezos, though?
Miguel Bezos was a Cuban immigrant who fled an oppressive regime and chased the American dream, imparting his determination and work ethic to his adoptive son and future Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos.
It’s a story that we often see portrayed in popular media, the man or woman with nothing but the shirt on their back, energetic and possessed by a desire to forge a new life for themselves.
In the case of Bezos, it’s the closest the story can get to reality.
Humble Beginnings in Cuba
As with almost any story, the best place to start is right at the beginning, in 50’s Cuba.
For those of you that aren’t hot on your Cuban history, during that time period in Cuba, things were being run by the elected politician turned military dictator Fulgencio Batista.
These kinds of political problems were far out of the mind of Bezos, just a child at the time, living in Santiago de Cuba with a loving family.
For the most part, it was what any happy child wants; a stable home, two parents, and two siblings.
Bezos recalls these memories fondly, stating that he had “great memories” of his childhood and all the comings and goings that took place between family members.
Never a dull moment in the Bezos household, but brimming with the kind of happiness that only family can bring.
Bezos’ father and mother were both business owners and practical people. His father specifically, despite the lack of attaining any kind of further education, was a man who knew the value of hard work and applied it to his work in running the lumber mill that he owned.
His mother, despite having three children and a household to look after, still found time to do a little business of her own, running a small store with the kind of products that prospective housewives like herself were able to make use of Baby clothes, fabrics and the like.
With the ushering in of a revolution and Castro, along with a regime that stripped people like Bezos’ father of their livelihood, many turned to America for refuge.
Just a teenager, Bezos would be shipped off to America by his parents, for his own good.
The American Dream
Bezos arrived in Camp Matecumbe, along with the other infamously known Peter Pan children, in an operation designed to rescue them from the potential dangers of Castro’s new government.
Although there were some horror stories that rose out of this operation, it wasn’t the case for Bezos. His placement at a temporary home in Delaware was a good one, getting placed there with one of his cousins, and not only forming a close bond with the other children that went with him but with the priest who cared for them as well.
From this point on, with the help of friends and family, Bezos got by the best he could during a time that was so unavoidably turbulent and difficult. Likely due to the strain of the difficult living and becoming disillusioned with the jobs that he was getting, he decided to pursue further education.
Bezos attended a New Mexico University, the University of Albuquerque, where he had originally planned to obtain a degree in mechanical engineering, leveraging his skill and affinity for maths and physics.
It was sometime around this period that Miguel met the woman he would marry, Jackie, who also had a son at the time: Jeff Bezos.
Due to his newfound family, Bezos wished to expedite the education process, and with his mechanical engineering degree taking another potential year to complete, Bezos instead opted to become a mathematician, seeing as how he had the option of graduating sooner.
It proved to be the right choice, as he went on to get a job working for the company Exxon, laying a foundation for the life of both him and the new family that he had started.
Despite what would start off as a nomadic lifestyle for the family, they stayed tight-knit and close, with Miguel’s mindset clearly making an impact with the way that his non-biological son Jeff would approach life.