Luis J. Arrizurieta, one of the founding members of Brigade 2506, has died of natural causes at his home in Miami. He was 86.
Arrizurieta was born in 1929 in Havana in the neighborhood of Marianao, where he trained as an accountant.
In 1961, Arrizurieta fled to Miami. On April 17 of that year, he took part in the Bay of Pigs invasion. Arrizurieta was taken prisoner in Cuba, where he spent two years in jail. He was released as part of the negotiations with the Castro regime and the administration of President John F. Kennedy. Arrizurieta was one of the last to return to the United States.
But Arrizurieta’s yearning for a free Cuba did not wane despite his time in prison and the failed invasion. Following his release from Cuba, he went to Costa Rica for two years to train for another invasion, which never occurred.
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"He was a great father, a great husband and even better grandfather,” said his son Jorge Luis. “A patriot who never gave up his principles. A man with enormous courage and conviction. His memory will be an inspiration for the rest of my life.”
Arrizurieta worked 35 years in the footwear industry. He began as an accountant before rising to become co-owner.
He was also a prominent community activist in the city of Hialeah, where he served as president of the chamber of commerce and held political office. He also served for more than a decade as treasurer of the Republican party in Miami-Dade, of which he was an active member. He was a personal friend of former Florida governor and current presidential candidate Jeb Bush.
Arrizurieta, who died Thursday, is survived by his wife, Dr. Hilda Arrizurieta, his children Luis Francisco and Jorge Luis, his daughters-in-law and five grandchildren.
Services were held.