“The Unspoken Gift” is a wonderful story which should be an inspiration to all who have the pleasure of reading it. Aldo’s strong sense of family and community, and his dedication to both, as well as his sense of humor, shine through every page in this enlightening book. Aldo has been a mentor and friend to me for many years, and those who read this book will also find Aldo to be a mentor and friend in their professional and personal lives through his story. Enjoy!
What is a life well lived? To ask that question is to have the greatest courage to reflect and self-examine. Aldo traces his life’s story from early childhood in Cuba, through the trials of his young exile from his native country, and to the tests of building and continually re-building and re-inventing his life in the U.S.. His powerful emotional journey stirs up our deepest fears as we find out how, because of the threats of the communist regime in Cuba, his parents decide to send him to the U.S. knowing they might never see him again. The parent’s greatest sacrifice is made in the name of saving the child’s life – it emerges from and is sustained by the unspoken gift of unconditional love, the very sustenance of life itself.
The circumstantial rupture in his fledgling life Aldo transforms into a personal break through. When the world suddenly breaks open and things spin out of bounds, an 11 year old boy never loses his internal value boundaries that hold together his sense of personal and cultural integrity and uphold his resolve for self-determination. In our times when distraction, sarcasm, and pessimism are ravaging human spirit, Aldo remind us that those core values of unwavering positive outlook, tenacity, honesty, fairness, and compassion are still the only trustworthy guides.
Marked by such values, his path is an apotheosis of the American Dream – something he shows as, simultaneously, the greatest of America and greater than America that should still be believed in. Dreams and aspirations arise from the great contrasts in life and the struggles which become the springboards from which we make transformational choices. Aldo’s vibrant story of intense contrasts spans over international spatial and temporal divides and across dramatic zones where the collective history intertwines with the personal. His book is a historical time capsule containing such drastic events as Cuban Revolution, Viet Nam War, NY Stock Exchange crises, and Sept. 11, 2001. Aldo has truly seen the world; not only crossing geographic distances and cultural divides but, most significantly, he walked among different walks of life – from camps, orphanages, and foster homes and the immigrant working class to the high life of the global trend-setting milieus of New York. He has been cast into the world as a historical witness of an enormous range of conditions to which his book now attests.
Witnessing his life and testifying to the richness of its emotional capacity, Aldo discovers, with this book, the scope of his influence in the world and the power to make a difference. Adding another impressive role to his wide range as a son, a husband, a father, a professional leader, a teacher and a communal activist, Aldo here becomes a storyteller. In the role of a storyteller, he is a carrier of the communal consciousness whose story is a living legacy. His solitary path opens up pathways for others, leaving supportive tracks and signposts for the future lonely travelers. Aldo’s looking back is looking forward – safeguarding his and our collective trip as if by checking it in a rear-view mirror.
While his story is replete with sobering messages and words of wisdom, there are interspersed still vivid moments of humorous childhood transgressions and relieving lightheartedness. Interweaving strife with joys of persisting, overcoming, and accomplishing, Aldo’s book reverberates with the higher spirit of unrelenting love of life and others. Such spirit permeates and carries his story and ensures the continual flow of unconditional love as the ultimate gift and the greatest legacy. With heightened senses of which he speaks, his book unifies hearts and minds in a vision of resolve with compassion. It is rewarding and reassuring – a lifebuoy in a stormy sea of life. Aldo’s story is a gift of inspiration spoken courageously from a vantage point of a life well lived.
Years ago James Barrie wrote about Peter Pan and his adventurous flights at night. In The Unspoken Gift, Aldo Martinez tells about his adventures as a Pedro Pan child after he flew out of Cuba in a twin engine plane on February 6, 1962, at the age of 11. Martinez recognized early that education was necessary for his success and completed college and Law School. His ability to work in a job he enjoyed and to rise through the ranks at the New York Stock Exchange to become the Managing director at age 37 and the only Hispanic Vice President at the age of 39, is another example of his success. His love for family is rooted in his parents’ love for him and their sacrifice to give him a better life by sending him to America. Martinez demonstrates that no matter where someone is born, if a person strives for success, his dreams will be fulfilled.
I have just finished reading The Unspoken Gift. What a wonderful story! For me, knowing you from our international meetings during a decade, this book was very valuable. You have been telling us part of this from time to time over a beer and people have asked you every time if this will end up in a book. And it did – with a great result!
Touching , learning and interesting. Very personal. Very proud. For me, it was also very valuable to experience the 9/11 through your eyes – with your proud american attitude explaining us some of the feelings … What a nightmare you had at work that day. We were all at work within market surveillance, we had the screens and the pictures – but we were not there. Thanks. This book was a gift – also for me!