Alberto Gonzalez was “Born to Translate Cuba”

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Author: Mavis Anderson

Born to translate CubaIf any of you have had the opportunity to travel to Cuba with LAWG or our partner organization, Witness for Peace, or had any interactions with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Center in Marianao/Havana, then you have probably had the distinct pleasure of meeting Alberto Gonzalez, an interpreter for the MLK Jr. Center. Besides being the best Cuban interpreter we have ever run across, Alberto has become the friend of many who have learned from him. He’s written a memoir, and we’d love to share with you how you can get it. Alberto is the same age as the Cuban revolution; his book is written from that perspective, and it is as lively and filled with humorous stories as is Alberto himself. The memoir, Born to Translate Cuba, is newly printed and available on You can order it here.

Here’s the summary from Amazon:

“In this lively memoir, told with engaging wit and emotion, Alberto Gonzalez Rivero provides an intimate look at Cuba following the Revolution under Fidel Castro—a perspective few North Americans ever encounter.

“By integrating history into his personal narrative, Alberto provides an honest look into the culture and society of Cuba today. From the literacy campaign through the collapse of the Soviet Union to the current challenges of tourism and the dual currency system, this book provides a unique perspective on Cuba from a man who truly knows it. Alberto’s story personalizes the Cuban experience and will change readers’ perspective on Cuba while simultaneously inspiring them to pursue their dreams regardless how difficult.

“Alberto Gonzalez, poor country boy, masters English, earns his university degree and embarks on a bright teaching future. Suddenly economic disaster strikes his family and almost all Cuban families during the “Special Period” of the 1990s after the Soviet collapse. Alberto, now the young father of two little daughters, struggles mightily to keep food on the table. Just when things are looking especially grim, a chance encounter with Reverend Raul Suarez of the Martin Luther King Center in Havana provides him with the chance to utilize his special gift and training in languages as the interpreter for visiting delegations—and eventually as a translator for Fidel Castro himself.

“Most Cuban stories are written by those who have emigrated to the US and no longer know Cuba today. The author of this memoir proudly loves Cuba, his life-long home. Alberto is an energetic ambassador for his country, introducing its culture and its beautiful people to visiting delegations from across the world. He does more than translate conversations. He translates Cuba! Proud to be a Cuban, he remains grateful for the revolution that gave people like himself the chance to grow and succeed. An important book! A delightful read!”

We highly recommend this book. Those of you who have traveled with or met Alberto will especially love it.

When you have read it, we’d love to hear your comments. We’ll pass them along to Alberto!