Celebrated architect, urban planner, and human rights advocate Jesús A. Permuy was honored by U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27) as well as other South Florida community leaders during a presentation at the congresswoman’s local office on Friday, Aug. 31.
The event began with eldest grandson and event organizer Antonio Permuy thanking those attending and then thanking his grandfather for his long career, his service to the community with laying the groundwork for the Permuy family to “become what it is today.”
Rep. Ros-Lehtinen then introduced various officials who took the stage to honor Jesús Permuy.
The first to speak was former Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado who said, “Jesús Permuy started writing history about 50 years ago, and I was there…”
Regalado then recounted Permuy’s early struggles in his human rights activism on behalf of the Cuban people. He then explained how Permuy overcame each obstacle over several years before working extensively in Geneva and elsewhere to successfully raise visibility for the human rights abuses in Cuba and other dictatorships.
“When we write the ‘real Cuban history,’ we owe several pages to Jesús,” Regalado added.
Current Coral Gables Mayor Raul Valdes-Fauli also lauded Permuy’s storied international advocacy with bodies such as the United Nations and U.S. Congress, saying, “Your human rights activities on behalf of Cuba have been significant, very influential…” and then awarded Permuy the Key to the City of Coral Gables.
Former Coral Gables Mayor Donald Slesnick and spouse, former Gables Commissioner Jeanette Slesnick, paid tribute to Permuy’s leadership.
“For the world, for our community, for humanity — you are a great example for all of us,” Mayor Slesnick said.
Miami River Commission chair Horacio Aguirre praised Permuy’s professional career, calling him “one of Miami’s finest architects.”
The event was co-hosted by Coral Gables-based Permuy Architecture, which was founded by eldest son and firm president Ignacio Permuy.
Another son, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Pedro Pablo Permuy, gave remarks on the importance of their father instilling a sense of service in the family.
Commentator and analyst Raul Mas Canosa supported the sentiment, calling Jesús Permuy (his father-in-law) a “true family man” and praised his character and integrity.
Ros-Lehtinen concluded the event by presenting Permuy and his family with a copy of the Statement of Congressional Record that she read on the Floor of the House of Representatives in October 2017 as well as a flag she had flown over the U.S. Capitol Building in his honor this year for his leadership and services to the community, adding, “there’s no one else I think would be more worthy” of these honors. She then pointed out that the prior day had been Permuy’s 83rd birthday and led a singing of Happy Birthday.
Jesús Permuy thanked his friends for their kind testaments to his life’s work. Permuy, who began his public career as National Civic Coordinator of the anti-Castro Counter-Revolution in Cuba before arriving in the United States, closed by stressing the importance of continuing the work of being engaged in activism, calling human rights one of the most important themes of the 20th and 21st centuries.