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Sun Jan 27, 2013, 07:11 PM

Cuban comrade now a house-flipping capitalist savant

http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/01/26/3202566_cuban-comrade-now-a-house-flipping.html#storylink=addthis

TAMPA -- Pedro Alvarez Borrego, a top Cuban government official who oversaw the nationís $1.5 billion-a-year food-importing enterprise, is living the American Dream in Tampa a mere two years after he defected.

Alvarez has bought and sold at least eight homes worth a total value of nearly $600,000 and opened a management company, official records show. He has also reportedly become a consultant on how U.S. businesses can enter the Cuba markets.

Yet mystery lingers over exactly how the 70-year-old could buy so much real estate so soon after his arrival from Cuba, where he was under criminal investigation in a kickback-for-imports scandal at Alimport, the state monopoly for food imports.

Before his hasty defection, his job at Alimport made him the powerful main negotiator of contracts with chomping-at-the-bit U.S. exporters that hit a record of $711 million in 2008 and turned the United States into Cubaís fifth-largest trade partner.

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