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Cuba was part of the new world discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492. It was ruled largely by the Spanish before a brief occupation by the British occupation. Spain regained control after trading Florida for Cuba.

After Cuba gained independence at the turn of the 20th century, the tiny Caribbean country cycled through a series of corrupt and cruel dictators. This sparked a Cuban revolution in the 1950’s that culminated with the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista in what is known as the 26th of July Movement. Fidel Castro took control and Cuba became a Socialist state run by the Communist Party. Castro ruled through 2008 when he turned the country over to his brother Raul.

The Cuban people’s struggle for independence has captured our country’s interest for more than a century. Six months after Castro’s overthrow of the Cuban government in 1959, President Eisenhower’s administration began to plot his ouster. The United States officially severed diplomatic ties with Cuba in 1961. Just months into President Kennedy’s administration, the CIA had a failed attempt to topple Cuba’s government in what is known as the Bay of Pigs Invasion. The Cuban Missile Crisis a year later may be the high water mark of tensions between the neighboring nations. When Cuba agreed to let the Soviet Union place medium range ballistic missiles on the island, our country responded with a naval blockade to keep Soviet ships carrying the missiles away.

In the 1970’s, the communist policies of the Castro government led to tough living conditions for most Cubans. The country’s record on human rights is atrocious. Between 1959 and 1993, nearly ten percent of Cuba’s population left the island for the United States. The influx of 125,000 Cuban exiles in Florida has changed the election landscape in The Sunshine State.

George S. Lemieux
Jose Uzal
Manny Almira
Governor Bob Ehrlich

George Lemieux
George S. Lemieux served as Florida’s 34th United States Senator from 2009-2011. While in the Senate, Lemieux served on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, the Armed Services Committee, and the Special Committee on Aging. George was born in Fort Lauderdale and attended public schools in Coral Springs. He attended Emory University in 1991 and Georgetown University in 1994. Mr. Lemieux served as Chairman of Broward County’s Republican Party from 2000-2002. Mr. Lemieux also served as Deputy Attorney general and appeared before the United States Supreme Court on behalf of the state of Florida.

In 2007 George severed as Chief of Staff to Florida Governor Charlie Crist 2007 overseeing all state agencies and operations. In that role, he negotiated a gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

In December 2012 Mr. LeMieux and Palm Beach Atlantic University President William M.B. Fleming, Jr. announced the creation of the LeMieux Center for Public Policy. The Center was established to provide students with opportunities to engage with state and national officials, journalists, authors, academics and other notable leaders on issues important to Florida, the United States and the world. Currently, George LeMieux serves as the chairman of the board of the Gunster law firm. He is married to Meike Detassis; They have 4 children.

Manny Almira
Manny Almira joined the Port of Palm Beach as Executive Director in July 2008; He is a 25-year veteran of the maritime industry. In his position, Almira sees a $12.8M budget, negotiates current and future leases and generates new business revenue.

Almira’s years of business development experience, in both international shipping and the U.S. seaport arena, demonstrate a solid background in the fields of waterborne and landside transportation. This extensive maritime industry knowledge combined with in-depth South Florida market experience made him a perfect fit for the position.

Almira secured the deal with the Bahamas Celebration Cruiseline and the Port of Palm Beach increasing Port revenues and opening up jobs opportunities to the citizens of West Palm Beach. Almira has been instrumental in the signing of new contracts that have filled up Port leasing space and creating new industry prospects for the Port.

Born in Cuba, Almira is a U.S. Citizen who received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Bernard Baruch College, City University of New York. Almira resides in Davie, Florida with his wife of 20 years, Jean Marie, and two children Daniel and Caitlin. He is highly involved in the community including work with the American Association of Port Authorities, Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beach, the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches, and the World Trade Center.

Jose Uzal
Born in Cuba, Jose Uzal is a highly sought-after figure in Hispanic community events, business events and debates. Under his leadership as chief editor, el Latino Semanal has grown to be the longest-running and most widely circulated Spanish-language weekly in Palm Beach County for more than eight years. The broadsheet publication is now on its 40th year of continuous publication. It is the first Hispanic publication to add digital distribution of its weekly printed edition.

Uzal has held a variety of positions in media in the area. He was Vice President and General Manager of WBWP Mundo Fox. He is back at El Latino Semanal as their National Sales Manager.

Uzal is a weekly guest on popular Spanish morning radio program “El Show de La Mañana” on WSPS 1190 a.m

Bob Ehrlich
Robert L. “Bob” Ehrlich, Jr. served as the Governor of Maryland from 2003-2007.

Ehrlich was born and raised in the Southwest Baltimore suburb of Arbutus, Maryland. His mother Nancy was a legal secretary and his father Robert a car salesman. Governor Ehrlich won scholarships to the Gilman School in Baltimore and later to Princeton University. While at Gilman, Governor Ehrlich was named captain of the football team and won all-state and all-American honors. While at Princeton University, Ehrlich studied political science and co-captained the football team. After graduating from Princeton in 1979, Governor Ehrlich entered the Wake Forest University School of Law, where he worked as an graduate assistant football coach to earn extra money, while attending classes during the day.

After Ehrlich finished law school in 1982, he moved back to Maryland to work at a law firm for more than a decade. While working as an attorney, Governor Ehrlich ran successfully for the House of Delegates.

In 1994, Bob Ehrlich was elected to the United States House of Representatives. While serving in Congress, he helped craft the first balanced budget in a generation, sponsored legislation to protect innocent spouses from IRS abuse, authored legislation to help blind and disabled citizens return to the workplace, and led efforts to stiffen penalties on criminals convicted of gun violence. Congressman Ehrlich was a leading advocate for small business owners and helped provide record tax relief to the American people.

Governor Ehrlich is married to Kendel Sibiski Ehrlich, a former assistant public defender and assistant state’s attorney. The Ehrlichs are the proud parents of two sons, Drew and Joshua.

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