No matter what our circumstances are, all the joy we want exists inside us. Events in life that challenge us to become the catalysts to clarify our preferences, which defines the life we want to experience. When we care about how we feel, we embrace our freedom to choose the direction of our focus. Thus we tap into our innate power to feel our way through the life we consider best for us.

Armando Lucas Correa is a Manhattan-based Cuban writer and the Editor-in-Chief at People en Español magazine. He moved from Cuba to Miami in 1991 and found himself in a completely new world. He had to quickly find the inner strength and inspiration to create a life for himself. He says, “I arrived in Miami and reinvented myself, learned a new language, and began working as a reporter at El Nuevo Herald, the Miami Herald’s Spanish-language sister publication. When People en Español was created in 1996, I moved to New York the next year.” 

Correa has been a key figure in the representation of Cuban culture and Spanish language within the American publishing world. He explains that during the 1970s and ’80s, the cultural and political repression in Cuba was “unbearable.” The struggle Cubans faced and the rich and vibrant history and traditions of that beautiful country were not well known in the United States. During his tenure at People en Español, a publication that he joined at its inception and has worked with ever since, the magazine skyrocketed in popularity and became the number one Spanish-language magazine in the United States.

Armando’s mission is to “write in Spanish for the US general market, no matter the language you speak.” We live in a time in which American culture is embracing the vibrancy and diversity of the people who live in the US, and magazines such as People en Español embody that ideal. Correa comments, “Diversity is the future. We need to learn how to speak to different audiences, regardless of their native language. At People en Español, language unifies us, but culturally there are many differences among all the nationalities that come together under the Latino-Hispanic banner in this country. You have to understand the differences, the idiosyncrasies.”

Armando Correa is also a best-selling author who has woven his homeland into his novels, The German Girl and The Lost Daughter, bestsellers that have been translated into fourteen different languages and sold in more than twenty-five countries. The trilogy will end with The Night Traveler. The novels follow Amanda and Lina, a mother and daughter who try to flee a Nazi-occupied Berlin while the second daughter, Viera, is on a cruise liner headed for Cuba. The father, Julius, was taken by the Germans to work for the Führer. 

On the inspiration for his novels, Correa says, “Since I was a kid, I’ve been always been obsessed with WWII, the Holocaust, Nazism. I grew up hearing my grandmother saying that Cuba would pay dearly for its government’s rejection of more than 900 Jews who arrived in Havana on May 27, 1939, fleeing Nazi Germany aboard the luxury liner Saint Louis—all this despite the fact that they had all traveled there with permits to disembark. Many on that ship ended up in Auschwitz. I’ve been obsessed with that story since I heard it from her.” 

These novels tell a story of heartbreak and hope amidst difficult choices and impossible circumstances. The characters in Correa’s novel enter the darkest of times hoping to emerge in the light, stronger than before. On the moral of his novel, Armando says, “Even in the darkest times in our lives, we always seek refuge in love. Hate and fear will never take us anywhere good.”

Correa has manifested the life he desires, turning challenges into strengths and fuel for his creative expression. He describes his successes, “I arrived in the United States at age thirty-one. I created a family against all odds (we’re two dads, thanks to an egg donor and a surrogate). I became the Editor-in-Chief of the number one Spanish-language magazine in the US, and at fifty-five, I published my first novel.”

As a final note, Armando Lucas Correa says, “The only thing you need to do is make a decision, be patient, persevere and do everything well. In everything that you do, you have to give your all and be your best.”
Project coordinator: Rose Newlands Handz Dirty PR | Photography: Keith Major | Location: IMG Cheryl Eisen 67 Franklin Street listed by The Noble Black Team of Douglas Elliman | Words: Kaila Basile & Armand Alvarez