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Luis J. Botifoll Oral History Project
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Abreu, Ernesto

Abreu, a leader in the underground and guerrilla movements in Cuba in the early 1960s, was instrumental in setting up training camps for anti-Castro exile’s forces in Central America. Prominent in Cuban exiles organizations in Miami, at 75 infiltr...

Aleida Leal

Aleida Leal, a Cuban-American journalist and radio personality who is well-known on Spanish language radio in South Florida. She started her career as a voice actress in Cuba doing commercials. In Miami, she was the host of several popular radio p...

Alonso, Hilda

Alonso, a Miami nun who directed Havana's Colegio La Inmaculada school for girls before the Cuban Revolution and later founded Las Hermanas de la Caridad (Sisters of Charity), an organization that distributes food and medical supplies to comm...

Angelita Castany

Angelita Castany, a Cuban vedette, singer, actress, and entertainer who relocated to Mexico following the Cuban Revolution. She is most famous for singing and performing pieces by Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona.

Aragón, Uva de

Cuban-American writer and academic who has published numerous books, both fiction and nonfiction. She is the associate director of the Cuban Research Institute at Florida International University.

Benes, Bernardo

Leader of the Cuban Jewish community who played a pivotal role in the “diálogo” with the Castro government in the late 1970s during  Jimmy Carter's presidency

Benguria, Carmina

Cuban poet and last surviving “recitadora” of the 1940s and 1950s, who attained fame in 1959, at the triumph of the Revolution, for her rendering of the Marcha triunfal del Ejército Rebelde, only to became a Cuban exiled soon after.

Bichachi, Israel

Havana-born, Sephardic Jewish activist who joined a group of Cuban Jews to fight for Israel's independence. Upon returning to Cuba, he left as an exile in 1961, living in Israel and New York before settling in Miami and opening the clothing s...

Cabell, Nestor

Playwright and producer known for his productions of teatro bufo cubano in Miami and has kept his sala teatro open in Calle Ocho for over a quarter of a century. He is also a distinguished actor with a career in Hispanic radio in the US and a freq...

Candela, Hilario

Cuban-born architect who was influential in developing Miami’s modern look. At the age of 26, he designed Marine Stadium, which was constructed in 1963 on Virginia Key, Florida.

Cao M.D., Andrés

Cuban physician and former member of the Movimiento de Recuperación Revolucionaria (MRR), a Cuban counterrevolutionary group. Dr. Cao was arrested and condemned to 20 years in prison as a political prisoner.  He is the author of La verdadera Repub...

Castillo, Siro del

A human rights advocate and community leader on immigrant issues, del Castillo worked as an architectural designer for Cuba's National Institute of Tourism and left the island in 1972. During the Mariel boatlift, del Castillo assumed a variet...

Chirino, Willy

Renowned Cuban-American salsa singer and music producer. Chirino has recorded over 20 albums since 1974, winning a Grammy in 2006 for Best Salsa/Merenge Album.

Clark, Juan M.

Well-known sociologist, and professor emeritus at Miami Dade College. A Bay of Pigs veteran and former political prisoner, Dr. Clark is the author, among other works, of Cuba, mito y realidad (Saeta Ediciones, 1992).

Conte Agüero, Luis

Journalist and political figure in pre-Castro Cuba’s Ortodoxo party. School friend of Fidel Castro and his first biographer.  Anti-Castro exile leader. 

Cruz Varela, María Elena

Cuban poet, activist, and political prisoner. Cruz Varela led a group of anti-Castro dissidents called Critico Alternativo, which published a manifesto of grievances and reforms against the government in 1991. She was awarded the Liberal Institute...

Cárdenas, Isidro

Cao, interviewed with Neida Revuelta,are the husband and wife Cuban folksingers best known for their Spanish-language radio program with La Poderosa station in Miami.

Diaz Espinosa, Maribel

Daughter of renowned Cuban pianist and music instructor Conchita Espinosa. Conchita founded music academies in Cuba and the United States, receiving numerous awards as a distinguished educator. Maribel currently runs her late mother's school,...

Diaz-Balart, Lincoln

Retired Republican U.S. Congressman from Florida who served in the Florida State House of Representatives from 1987 to 1989, the Florida Senate from 1989 to 1992, and the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993 to 2011.

Dúran, Alfredo

Bay of Pigs veteran who chaired the Florida Democratic Party from 1976 to 1980.  By appointment by Florida governor Reubin Askew in 1973, he was the first Hispanic to serve on the Miami-Dade County School Board. A former president of the Veteran’s...

Father Sergio Carrillo

Father Sergio Carrillo, a veteran paratrooper at the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1960 and later exiled to the United States. He was ordained in the Archdiocese of Miami in 1982, and has served as a priest in Miami, Guatemala and Colombia.

Fernandez, Camilo

One of the founders of the Asociación Pro Cuba (Pro-Cuba Association) of Elizabeth, New Jersey and president of the Junta Patriótica Cubana (Patriotic Cuban Junta) in that area

Ferreira M.D., Leonor

Civic leader and one of the first Cuban female physicians actively involved in the University of Havana and political struggles of her times. Ferreira is a founding and active member of the Miami-based organization Junta Patriótica Cubana.

Fiallo, Delia Pascual

Author of radio dramas and television novellas, who found success both in pre-Revolutionary Cuba and after her exile in the United States. Among her most famous works are Soraya, El Angel Perverso, and Lidia Sandoval.

Fleitas, Andrés

Legend of Cuban baseball and distinguished player in the old Cuban professional league and internationally who was elected to the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971.

Germain, Miguel

Cuban activist of Haitian descent who served as president of Municipios de Cuba en el Exilio in the early 1970s, which probably made him the first black Cuban to preside over a Cuban exile organization in Miami.

González, Fidel

A defense attorney for many death penalty candidates before Cuba's revolutionary courts, who soon became a target himself of the dictatorship. Dr. González was one of the early Cuban exiles in the New York-New Jersey region, where he has been...

Gustavo de los Reyes

Gustavo de los Reyes, a former ranch owner in Cuba. After Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba, de los Reyes conspired with William Morgan, an American double agent who later reported him to the Castro authorities, leading to de los Reyes’ arrest an...

Gutiérrez, Carlos

Cuban-American businessman and political figure. Gutiérrez served as CEO of Kellogg’s corporation from 1999-2004, and is attributed as saving the company from bankruptcy. He left his post to join George W. Bush’s administration in 2004, as the 35t...

Gómez Gómez, José

One of the thousands of Spaniards who emigrated from Galicia to Cuba and established himself in the Cuban middle class of the 1950s. Gómez Gómez followed his Cuban family and friends into exile in Miami, where he was one of the founders and still ...

Iriondo, Sylvia G.

Founder and President of Mothers Against Repression (MAR), an organization that fights for the democratization of Cuba. Iriondo is an internationally recognized human rights activist.

José Andreu

José Andreu, Chief of Civil Affairs from the Brigade G5 during the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961. After studying philosophy in Germany and management of cooperatives in England, and receiving a law degree from the University of Madrid in Spain, And...

Le Matt, Jose

Operatic and lyric singer and musical director who performed with the Orquesta Filarmónica de La Habana, and directed the Teatro de la Opera de La Habana in Cuba. He has performed in Spain, Italy, New York and Miami, sharing the stage with legenda...

Leon Jr., Benjamin

Founder and CEO of Leon Medical Centers (LMC), a seven-clinic medical group that focuses on healthcare for Hispanic seniors.  With his father, León ran Miami’s first pre-paid medical center, Clinica Asociación Cubana.

Levitan, Aida

Cuban-American businesswoman who served as CEO and vice-Chairperson of Bromley Communications, a national advertising and public relations firm. She currently heads her own marketing company, The Levitan Group, Inc

Luis J. Botifoll Oral History Project

  • CHC5212
  • Collection
  • 2008-2013

The Luis J. Botifoll Oral History Project collection includes videos, outlines, and selected transcripts of oral history interviews conducted principally with members of the first generations of Cubans exiled since the Cuban Revolution. Interviews...

Luna, Laura

Cuban post-modernist visual artist who is part of the "80s Golden Generation." Luna and her family obtained political asylum in the US during the Mariel Boatlift of 1980, after which she established a studio in Miami in 1994.

Matos Sr., Huber

Famous “comandante” of Castro’s guerrilla, first Commander-in-Chief of Camagüey province. Jailed for 20 years for denouncing Castro’s communist leanings in October 1959. Director of the anti-Castro exile group “Cuba Independiente y Democratica.”

Menendez, Denetrio

Set designer, stage manager, entertainment entrepreneur, musician, and all-around behind-the-scenes man of Cuban performing arts who helped found Añorada Cuba and Sociedad Pro-Arte Grateli. Menéndez was a TV set designer at CMQ TV in Cuba. As an e...

Mesa-Marti Betancourt Sharpe, Lidia

Widow of Juan René Betancourt, president of the Federation of Cuban Societies of Color who wrote a number of books about racial discrimination in Cuba in the 1950s.  Mrs. Sharpe is owner of the Little Havana Restaurant on Cornelia Street in Manhat...

Pais, Agustin

Brother of Frank País, who is regarded by many as the one revolutionary leader who could rival Fidel Castro in the struggle against Batista. Frank was killed in the Santiago de Cuba´s uprising that was planned to unfold at the time that Castro was...

Paz, Luis de la

Cuban-born writer who came to Miami on the Mariel Boatlift. He has written numerous plays and dramatic works, as well as a column for Diario Las Américas.

Pichardo, Ernesto

Co-founder of the Church of Lukumí Babalú Aye in Hialeah, Florida and Santeria priest and advocate. In 1992, his church won the U.S. Supreme Court case against the City of Hialeah over a city ordinance barring the sacrifice of animals during Sante...

Piña, Alicio

Cuban exile who arrived in Miami alone at the age of 16 and went on to be the first Mariel refugee to receive a law degree from the University of Miami. After serving as chief deputy of Miami-Dade County Courts, he started his own real estate comp...

Portela, Leonor

Cuban exile widowed in 1961s Bay of Pigs invasion, Portela was motivated by a religious experience in the 1980s to sell her Miami home and move to Guatemala where she founded Misioneros del Camino (Missioners of the Road), an orphanage that curren...

Rivera, Agapito

Known as “El Guajiro Rivera,” a living legend among the anti-Castro guerrilla forces of the 1960s. Captured by Castro’s army with so many bullet wounds that he was left to die, he survived and spent many years in prison.

Rodriguez de Aragon, Roberto

Former member of the House of Representatives of Cuba pre-Castro. Because of his close relationship with the Batista family and government, he was among the first Cubans exiled in Miami in 1959 and has served as president of Municipios de Cuba en ...

Rodriguez, Felix Ismael

Former Central Intelligence Agency operative best known for leading the interrogation and execution of Ernesto "Che" Guevara in Bolivia in 1967. Rodríguez also participated in the Bay of Pigs invasion, and became president of the Brigade...

Romani, Salvador

Journalist and political leader of the Cuban exile community in Venezuela for over 35 years, with extensive knowledge of that community's development and political influence. Romaní is now a twice-exiled Cuban in Miami.

Salvat, Juan Manuel

Cuban activist and dissident who co-founded the anti-Castro organization Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil (DRE). Salvat actively worked against the Castro government in Cuba, and continued his dissident activities after his exile in 1960. He ...

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