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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...

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...

Suarez, Diego R.

Graduate of the Civic-Military Institute at Ceiba del Agua, Cuba, who started an agricultural equipment design and manufacturing firm in Havana. Exiled in 1961, he continued in that line of work and today is the largest manufacturer of field equip...

Vazquez, Eva

Actress in radio, theater and TV in Cuba in the 1940s and 1950s, who married actor Carlos Badías. Her son, Carlos Alberto Badías, was a famous romantic lead in the early 1950s who later became a political prisoner under Castro

Sonia Calero

Sonia Calero, a Cuban Rumba dancer, ballerina and choreographer. Calero is recognized worldwide for her work in Cuban dance with her late husband, Alberto Alonso. She was born in Havana to a working class family, and at eleven years old she enroll...

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 ...

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.

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...

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 ...

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...

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.

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...

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...

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...

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.

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