Spirited to freedom at age 10, Angones will be the Bar’s first Cuban-born president
By Jan Pudlow
In introducing Frank Angones, who will become the first Cuban-born president of The Florida Bar next year, U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno said, “Frank is such an American name. Frank!”
With the melodic lilt and the rolling “r” of the Spanish language, Moreno said with a flourish: “It’s Francisco Ramon Angones del Monte.
“That’s a great name. You should hear his great, great grandfather’s name: Pedro Felipe Figueredo. He was the author of the Cuban national anthem.”
When Figueredo, a lawyer, landowner, poet, and musician wrote the song in 1867, he called it “La Bayamesa.” Three years later, fighting as a general in the Ten Years’ War, he was captured by the Spanish and executed in Santiago de Cuba.
But on this June 23 day at the General Assembly at the Bar’s Annual Convention in Boca Raton, it was occasion to talk about Angones’ part in making history. At age 10, he came alone to America from Cuba, two months after the Bay of Pigs invasion, through the Pedro Pan Project organized by the Catholic Church.
“For those of you who have children, this was incredible,” Moreno said. “You gave up your child to save them, basically. They came all alone to a foreign country that welcomed so many of us. He was lucky enough that his parents joined him a few months later in Homestead.”
Angones, he said, “is very proud of being an American without having surrendered his ethnic heritage. When you talk about the perfect balance between a Cuban — hyphen — American, you think of someone like Frank,” Moreno said.
“In today’s hard world, where decency seldom thrives, Frank is the type of person who treats his enemies as his friends. And that is something admirable. He is a devoted son, brother, husband, father, and friend. A man of faith and honesty with habits of caution, tact, and discretion.”
Angones, a “double Hurricane” with undergrad and law degrees from the University of Miami, who graduated magna cum laude, also played basketball in LaSalle High School in Miami and, Moreno said, describes himself as “the Cuban Dwyane Wade of the Sixties.”
Listing the groups Angones has served as president — Cuban-American Bar Association, Dade County Bar Association, Student Bar Association of UM School of Law, president of his high school student council, Moreneo quipped: “I think he’s been president of more organizations than even [former Bar President] Herman Russomano!”
Angones, who will be 56 on July 21, is the founding partner of Angones, McClure and Garcia in Miami, where he practices personal injury defense and commercial tort defense. He is married to Georgie, whom he met when they were 15, and they have a son, Frank, who is a film-writer and producer and 2005 graduate of Columbia University.
“It’s been well said that if a man has any greatness in him, it comes to light not in one flamboyant hour, but in the ledger of his daily work,” Moreno said.
“Frank’s ledger has been long and honorable, with a lot more to come.”