“Without him, I don’t know what they are going to do,” said neighbor Roberta Navarro, 46, who said he appeared to be the only bread-winner among the three adults who lived there.
Pérez was an avid contributor to “Secretos Cuba” – a web forum where Cuban issues are discussed. Pérez showed a special writing talent and ability to express himself as a modest country man with a gift of gab, Aguilar said.
His avatar – a one-eyed man – got him the nickname “El Tuerto,” which means “the one with one eye.” He joked that he used the symbol because his view of things was single-minded, Aguilar said.
“With the way he expressed himself in such a special manner, you really would believe he had a level of education much higher than he had,” Aguilar said. “He was a very humble, honest and honorable man, an incredible person. I’m not just saying that because he has departed.”
He also managed a Facebook page called “Los Protestones,” which he used to voice his opposition to the Castro regime.
Back at the Doral site, Donovan Budhoo remembered his brother as someone who loved horse racing. Family members said officials told them an 800-ton crane took two hours to assemble, and it wasn’t until about 4:30 p.m. that it finally began lifting the rubble.
As he spoke, he tried to peer over the bushes in the parking lot to watch an 800-ton crane that took two hours to assemble to be used to remove the broken slabs of concrete. The process started around 4:30 p.m. as one lowered a black cable slowly into the rubble. An official told the family that the biggest constraint now was daylight, because they couldn’t continue with the recovery operation after dark. Lighting the scene would cast shadows on the rubble, complicating the removal process.
He shook his head and wiped his eyes. “I know I’m going to see him again.”
As the sun set, another brother, Steven Budhoo, leaned up against the side a neighboring storage facility.
“The dog IDed the place where the body is, so that’s where they put the crane,’’ Steve said. “They’re moving at a very slow pace."
Tired and weary, he vowed not to give up all hope until they found the body.
“I watched in Haiti [on TV] and days upon days, they were still finding people alive.”
Miami Herald staff writers Maria Camila Bernal, Julie Brown, Michael Finch and Diana Moskovitz contributed to this report .