Armando Alejandre Jr.
Born in Havana on April 16, 1950, Armando Alejandre Jr. was 45 years old at the time of his death. He grew up in a close-knit family and fled Cuba with his parents and three older sisters when he was ten years old.
After graduating from high school in Miami, Armando voluntarily enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served two tours of duty in Vietnam. He served as a Marine, even though his height (6 ft. 7 in.) would have excluded him from the military draft and he had not yet become a United States citizen.
Armando joined the service as a way of expressing his gratitude to the United States for giving refuge to thousands of Cubans fleeing Castro‘s communist dictatorship. At this time, he also learned of the murder of a former schoolmate in Cuba by Castro‘s firing squads. The incident inspired him to move forward with his decision to serve in Vietnam by further igniting his desire to help protect the human rights of all peoples.
Armando graduated from Florida International University and worked for the Metro-Dade Transit Agency in Miami. Before his employment at the agency, he worked as a general contractor alongside his father for more than 20 years, building numerous churches and commercial facilities in the community. An outspoken proponent of democracy in Cuba, he was a well-known figure in the Cuban-American community.
Armando believed in supporting the Cubans on the island who strive for a democratic government. As a result, he passionately worked on assisting Concilio Cubano, a dissident coalition of about 120 organizations in Cuba, to organize the first national dissident meeting, which was scheduled to take place on February 24, 1996.
He was married for 20 years to his Cuban-born wife, Marlene. They had one daughter, Marlene Victoria, who was 18 years old at the time of her father‘s murder. Marlene Victoria described her father in testimony before the United States Congress as “the smartest, most generous, funny and charming man I have ever known.”