Published On: Tue, Jul 13th, 2021

Lively Leader of Cuban American Community Among Florida Victims

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Sixty years before Juan Mora’s Florida condo building came crashing down, killing him and at least 89 others, he was among hundreds of Cuban exiles who signed up for a covert, CIA-funded operation to overthrow Fidel Castro’s Soviet-backed dictatorship. Mora’s dream of restoring democracy in his homeland took him from military training at a Guatemalan jungle camp to the failed 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, where he was captured and then crammed into a decrepit, rat-filled Cuban prison for 20 months, friends once imprisoned with him told The Associated Press. Authorities on Friday identified the remains of 80-year-old Juan A. Mora, also known as Juanito, recovered from the rubble of the Champlain Towers South building in Surfside. Others killed included his wife, Ana, and their adult son, Juan Mora Jr., who worked in Chicago and had been staying with his parents when their 12-story building suddenly pancaked on June 24. …

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