When I was 11 years old, I realized that in order to live in a free country, I would have to leave Cuba, so I moved to Spain with my father. At the age of 14, I moved to the United States. Building a life here wasn’t easy. I didn’t know the language or the culture and my family didn’t have a lot of money. I always had to find a way to reinvent myself.
I met Gloria more than 35 years ago, back when she was a translator at the Miami airport. She was attending the University of Miami on a scholarship, where she studied Psychology. From the beginning, she was the kind of woman who made her own decisions. Our relationship grew quickly and soon we were married. Our early years were tough; we spent many of those early years learning a lot about each other. We learned how important it is to communicate and to respect each others thoughts and feelings. This has helped us maintain a strong relationship.
One of our toughest obstacles came in the early 90s—the height of Gloria’s career. While on a tour bus with our son Nayib, we were involved in a major accident, leaving Gloria with a broken back and paralyzed. The doctors told her she may never walk again. Gloria would not accept defeat and went through extensive rehabilitation. I was by her side each and every day. Gloria is an incredibly strong, resilient woman. A year later, not only was she walking again, she took center stage on a world-wide tour.
Following our instincts has also played a very big part in keeping our relationship strong after 35 years of marriage. We talk our way through our ideas and experiences. Everything we have accomplished with our family and our careers, from our publishing company to our hotels and restaurants, we have done together. I think that’s our secret: communication.