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Old 07-29-2008, 01:57 PM   #1
Edward Hamilton
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Default Social change through conversation

When Alberto Vollmer was confronted with social problems at Santa Teresa he took a revolutionary approach in a country defined by revolution itself. 8 years later, his problem solving approach has become a model studied around the region. This is from the Washington Post Tuesday July 29, 2008
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Old 07-29-2008, 02:25 PM   #2
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This is a radical concept in a country where rich and poor seemingly have little in common, but more and more Venezuelans might agree that not enough attention had been paid to the plight of the underclass - a lesson shared with their friends in Cuba.
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Old 07-29-2008, 07:55 PM   #3
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Alberto Vollmer is as blue-blooded as they get -- a blond, rakishly handsome heir of one of Venezuela's richest and oldest families.
His hair doesn't seem very blonde in the pictures I've seen. Including the one on washington post.
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Old 07-29-2008, 08:45 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by RobertBurr View Post
This is a radical concept in a country where rich and poor seemingly have little in common, but more and more Venezuelans might agree that not enough attention had been paid to the plight of the underclass - a lesson shared with their friends in Cuba.
I agree Robert. In fact, off the top of my head, I can't think of a country where the rich and the poor have anything in common except for the rich employing the poor to their advantage.

I applaud Vollmer for his outreach in response to a situation that other companies in the region might have used a heavy hand to quash.

I imagine Chavez had his eye on this development...and Vollmer took an elegant solution. A velvet glove as opposed to an iron hand. I hope to see it spread.
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Old 07-30-2008, 12:40 AM   #5
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One sad downside to Vollmer's actions is his loss of respect by his peers. Interestingly, the top market in the world for Johnny Walker Black is South Florida, followed by the country of Venezuela. It's a solid status symbol for those of class to drink Scotch. Many prosperous Venezuelans have publicly pledged never to drink his rum again and consider Vollmer a traitor to their class. On the other hand, many successful Venezuelans in Miami freely admit they ignored problems of class at their own peril. So the tide turns.

But that rum he makes is world-class stuff...
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Old 07-30-2008, 12:50 AM   #6
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Default When i read this article, i cried.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward Hamilton View Post
When Alberto Vollmer was confronted with social problems at Santa Teresa he took a revolutionary approach in a country defined by revolution itself. 8 years later, his problem solving approach has become a model studied around the region. This is from the Washington Post Tuesday July 29, 2008
When i read this article, i cried.

We may not have haciendas, or a sugar plantation, but what we have we can share in the ennobling civility of discourse and find the humanity we share even in the face confounding contradiction-- these are elements of the Vollmers' actions and they are very wise.

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Originally Posted by Rum Runner View Post
Vollmer took an elegant solution. A velvet glove as opposed to an iron hand. I hope to see it spread.

Last edited by forrest; 07-30-2008 at 12:22 PM. Reason: Add a quote from Rum runner
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Old 07-30-2008, 05:34 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by RobertBurr View Post
One sad downside to Vollmer's actions is his loss of respect by his peers. Interestingly, the top market in the world for Johnny Walker Black is South Florida, followed by the country of Venezuela. It's a solid status symbol for those of class to drink Scotch. Many prosperous Venezuelans have publicly pledged never to drink his rum again and consider Vollmer a traitor to their class. On the other hand, many successful Venezuelans in Miami freely admit they ignored problems of class at their own peril. So the tide turns.

But that rum he makes is world-class stuff...
It is sad indeed, to my mind, that Vollmer has lost respect of his peers. On the upside, one of the benefits of being very rich is that Vollmer does not need his peers to define himself, his Company or his Country.

The rum he produces is indeed "World Class". Maybe the man himself is also.
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Old 07-30-2008, 06:37 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by RobertBurr View Post
...
Many prosperous Venezuelans have publicly pledged never to drink his rum again and consider Vollmer a traitor to their class.
...
But that rum he makes is world-class stuff...
With no offense intended to the excellent Johnny Walker Black Label, we'll gladly take their share of Santa Teresa 1796 (the rest of the line is as yet unexplored, with the exception of the fine Araku liqueur. It is clearly their loss, and Santa Teresa seems to be thriving in spite of the partial boycott.
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Old 07-30-2008, 10:10 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Count Silvio View Post
His hair doesn't seem very blonde in the pictures I've seen. Including the one on washington post.
In many parts of the world you don't have to have yellow hair to be considered blonde. In places where the predominant hair color is black anyone with lighter hair is considered to be blonde.
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Old 07-30-2008, 10:36 AM   #10
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While it is easy to criticize others for their views and actions, Alberto and Henrique Vollmer will go down in history as honorable men who made a difference. They may not be applauded by those who would like to continue the status quo in a poor country but they are working to improve to lives of others - actions which should be considered noble by any measure.

I had the good fortune to spend a few days with Henrique and met Alberto briefly last year at the Santa Teresa distillery. In spite of inheriting the business from their father they have taken it from near bankruptcy to an enviable position under very difficult economic times in a country where inflation and social problems dominated the lives of most of their countrymen.

The next edition of my book will include more about these brothers who had to lay off more than 100 employees, salesmen, truck drivers and managers and yet retained their loyalty and respect. When you are criticized by a group of people you have to look at what those people actually represent. I'm willing to bet that many of those who have criticized the Vollmers over the last five years will change their views in the next five years. As Rob wrote, the tide is changing.
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