The most important of all Mafia members in Cuba was the second boss of the American Mafia, Meyer Lansky, architect and head of the Havana Empire. Lansky was Jewish, born in Grozno, in the south of former czarist Russia, at the time Polish territory. He was taken to the United States by his parents in 1911. Later, Lansky shortened his surname - Maier Suchowijansky - to a more Americanized version.
Word has it that Lansky had a practical intelligence, that he was clever and persuasive and preferred to act in the shadows. He was a close friend of Lucky Luciano since childhood - they had studied in the same school - and, when barely adolescents, they entered the New York underworld.