July 6, 2011

Miguel Boluda, 80, who worked for nearly three decades as a furniture refinisher at Sears, Roebuck and Co. and was a leading Cuban American activist in Maryland, died July 1 of cancer at the Mandrin Chesapeake Hospice House in Harwood. He was a Bowie resident.

Mr. Boluda retired from Sears’s White Oak store in the early 1990s.

He and his family had settled in suburban Maryland after fleeing their native Cuba in the early 1960s, after Fidel Castro’s communist revolution. Mr. Boluda became an active member of the Cuban American community and the state Republican Party, and in 2003 was appointed outreach coordinator for Maryland’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs by then-Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

Mr. Boluda founded the Circulo de Cubano de Maryland, a nonprofit group that organizes social and cultural events to bring Cuban Americans together, and served as its president for more than three decades.

When the Baltimore Orioles sponsored the Cuban national baseball team to travel to the United States for exhibition games in 1999, Mr. Boluda marched among a group of protesters. He did not believe the Orioles or any American entity should attempt to thaw relations with Cuba until its communist government was ousted, he told the Baltimore Sun at the time.

However, “while I am an Oriole fan on the outside, on the inside I wish the Cubans to win,” he told the Sun. “You can’t take that blood out of you.”

Miguel Boluda was born in Havana. He was pursuing an engineering degree and working in his family’s appliance store when Castro’s forces overthrew the U.S.-backed dictator, Fulgencio Batista.

Mr. Boluda had a wife and three children at the time. They flew to the United States in 1962 on a refugee flight. Mr. Boluda, a young man of military age, was not allowed to join them. The next year, he received a visa to visit extended family in Spain, and soon rejoined his family in the United States. Mr. Boluda became a U.S. citizen in 1968.

Survivors include his wife of 58 years, Gladys Perez Boluda of Bowie; four children, Jose Boluda, Miguel Boluda Jr. and Delia Robey, all of Bowie, and Gladys Boluda of Davidsonville; a sister, Raquel Boluda of Silver Spring; and 10 grandchildren.

— Emma Brown

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