THE CUBAN MIRACLE
To break away from the nets and maps of the past usually requires a powerful psychic push or surrounding convulsion. As the tribulations of Simplot, Masters, and Krofta suggest, business breakthroughs spring more often from mental breakdowns than from lucky breaks, lucrative deals, or academic prizes. Entrepreneurs are more likely to find inspiration in a pink slip than in a promotion.
In the modern age, however, the paramount source of entrepreneurial disruption and guilt is the turbulent politics of a tyrannous and war-torn world. In nearly every nation, many of the most notable entrepreneurs are immigrants. Immigration usually entails violation of ancestral ties and parental obligations. Dealing in their youths with convulsive change, thrown back on their own devices to create a productive existence, ripped untimely from the womb of a settled life, immigrants everywhere suffer the guilts of disconnection from their homes and families and ally easily with the forces of the future against the claims of the past. Shaped by a fractured or betrayed conservatism, however, the immigrant's most revolutionary creations usually reverberate with remembered values. In forging a new world, he continually restores the old.
In the history of the United States, each new flood of immigrants has enacted this essential drama of abandonment and rebuilding, revolution and redemption. But in recent years, no group has played out the entrepreneurial synthesis of past and future, nostalgia and restoration, with the energy and resourcefulness of the Cubans who fled Castro's Cuba in rage and fear and settled first in Miami, Florida.