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Soto_blog.JPGI first heard the fascinating backstory of Alex Soto–who recently concluded his term as president of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America–from a DVD he gave me of his “Black Bean Soup” speech about his boyhood in Cuba, his family’s escape to Florida after Fidel Castro seized power, and his longing these past 47 years to return home someday on his own terms. His story resonated with me–the son of a man who as a teenager had fled the Nazis in Poland to start a new life in New York. I offered my editing skills to help craft a personal essay out of his speech, which I would still like to see published in the consumer media. In the spirit of the season, I present here a slightly shorter version of his moving story, to remind us to give thanks for the blessings we enjoy living in a free country.

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