Jeff Bezos’ father and the special Hispanic connection

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Jeff Bezos' adoptive father is Cuban.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos speaks in Santa Monica, Calif. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

Man of the week, Jeff Bezos, is considered one of the top visionaries of the century and has a strong link to the Hispanic community that you may not know about.

His stepfather, Miguel Angel Bezos Perez, is Cuban.

Miguel was born in Cuba and, as a refugee, arrived in Camp Matecumbe in Miami at age 16 on July 21, 1962, with the Operation Peter Pan. Shortly after, he was relocated to the Operation Peter Pan Jesuit group home Casa de Sales in Wilmington (Delaware).

Like many other Cuban refugees, he worked hard and eventually graduated from the University of of New Mexico in Albuquerque, where he met Jeff’s mother, Jacklyn.

Between 1960 and 1962, around 14,000 Cuban children left their country with the help of the Catholic Archdioceses of Miami. Most of the children were placed with relatives, friends or foster care in more than 30 states including Michigan, Texas, Wisconsin or Illinois.

Other well-known Cuban Americans that came to the U.S. with Operation Peter Pan are former Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) and singer-songwriter Willy Chirino.

Jeff Bezos: Making history

After founding Amazon and being considered among the top ten billionaires of the world, Jeff Bezos made history this week with his purchase of one of the most remarkable media outlets in the world: The Washington Post.

His vision that can potentially turn around The Post could be one the most exciting developments in the media business — and make the founder of Amazon an example for other media outlets.

Early life

Jeff Bezos' parents, Miguel and Jackie. (Flickr/QuirkyDiana)

Jeff Bezos’ parents, Miguel and Jackie. (Flickr/QuirkyDiana)

Before he went to Princeton University, Jeff lived in three states with deep Latino roots: New Mexico, Texas and Florida.

He was born in Albuquerque in 1964 as Jeffrey Preston Jorgensen. His biological father, Ted Jorgensen, was married to Jeff’s mother, Jacklyn, for a year before divorcing. Jacklyn was only 17 years old when Jeff was born.

When Jeff was four years old, Jacklyn and Miguel Bezos got married. Then, in 1968, Miguel Bezos legally adopted young Jeff, and since then, Jeff has used his stepfather’s Cuban last name.

In fact, Jeff didn’t learn until he was eight that Miguel Bezos was not his biological father, according to the newspaper The Guardian.

“As far as I’m concerned, I only have one dad and he’s my real dad”, he said to The Guardian after pointing out that he has not had any inclination to track the other man down.

The Amazon founder’s connection with the Latino areas in the U.S. continued when the Bezos family moved to Miami.

Jeff attended Palmetto Senior High School, and there he increased the scientific interest that he showed since he was a little kid.

While in high school in Miami, Jeff attended the Student Science Training Program at the University of Florida in Gainesville and received the Silver Knight Award in 1982.

He went to Princeton to study physics, but he immediately started to concentrate on his passion about computers.

Supporting Education

Politically, Jeff Bezos is considered a libertarian but economically conservative, opposingnd the economic regulation and supporting social legislation, like gay marriage.

As a majority of the high tech companies, Amazon supports the immigration reform and the important role that the education must play for the minorities like Latinos.

That’s why Miguel Bezos and his wife are the founders of The Bezos Family Foundation with the idea that “all young people are prepared to achieve their full potential and make meaningful contribution to society”.

The improvement of the education level is the main passion of the Bezos’s family with their foundation that “supports rigorous, inspired learning environments for young people, from birth through high school, to put their education into action. Through investments in research, public awareness and programs, the foundation works to elevate the field of education and improve life outcomes for all children”.

Jeff Bezos on initiatives at Amazon to recruit Latino talent

As a CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos has been an advocate of recruiting Latino talent. In an interview with Mariela Dabbah, founder of Latinos in College (www.latinosincollege.com), Bezos said that Amazon is always looking at the Society for Hispanic Engineers to find Latinos con specific expertise.

Bezos said that Amazon has “a pretty sophisticated programs to minority universities all over the country and in fact in other places in the world”.

“We recruit and target pretty heavily there The Society for Hispanic Engineers). It is one of the priorities for our recruiting team at the  Human Resources and I think the team does a pretty good job”.

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