Asked if her father had been buying and selling properties, she replied, youre well informed but declined further comment. She later threatened to call the police and accused the El Nuevo journalists in her Arenas Blancas office of stalking.
Pedro Alvarez gave her home address when he arrived in the United States. Arenas Blancas Investment and Paradise Arenas Blancas were registered in January and February of 2011. They handle properties as well as trips, packages and phone calls to Cuba and general immigration services.
His last known address is a 1/1 condo on Pinnacle Heights Circle he bought for $27,000 in February of last year. Neighbor Richard Jones recognized a photo of Alvarez and said he last saw him there around Jan. 14-15. The unit is now listed for sale for $57,000.
Parke Wright said Alvarez came across as having not one corrupt bone in his body and that the only gifts he could remember giving the Alimport chief was a Stetson cowboy hat and maybe a bottle of bourbon.
John Kavulich, a New York businessman who helped found the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council to explore business opportunities with the island, said there were constant rumors of corruption at Alimport but not for the U.S. Big Ag companies.
The rumors were substantial but for the smaller players and third-country businessmen because U.S. embargo and anti-bribery laws and regulations would have brought on severe punishments, he added.
Havana blogger Yoani Sánchez wondered in a post last month whether corruption was responsible for the fact that the butter for sale in the Cuban capital had been imported all the way from New Zealand.
As for Alvarez, Kavulich added, U.S. agricultural exporters wanted to wine and dine him. They were all over him, treating him with far greater deference than they might treat another purchasing agent in another country.
He first met Alvarez in 1997, Kavulich added, and his clothing certainly saw a hasty transition from the drab of Cuban bureaucrats to the suits and ties of international business because he wanted to be perceived as being a powerful person.
Fernandez meanwhile noted that he recently received confirmed reports that Alvarez has been working as a consultant with a Cuban-American businessman from Miami who is trying to enter the Cuba market.
Hiring Alvarez as a consultant is a magnificent opportunity for someone who is considering doing business with Cuba, or is in fact doing it. The perception of having someone like him aboard gives a phenomenal impression And the perception may be of more value than the reality.
A previous version of this article misspelled the name of businessman John Parke Wright.
El Nuevo Herald Executive Editor Manny Garcia contributed to this report.