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The next time you drive down 62nd Avenue, from Perimeter Road to Northwest 29th Street, you’ll notice the road has a new name. It is now Ricardo Madan Way.
Commissioner Rebeca Sosa, Mayor Zavier Garcia and more than 100 people came together on Thursday, June 28, to honor and remember the contributions of the late Ricardo Madan.
Commissioner Sosa honored Madan’s legacy by unveiling the new street name, Ricardo Madan Way, while Mayor Garcia declared Thursday, June 28, 2012, Ricardo Madan Day.
The ceremony was held in the same spot where Madan spent much of his time in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. He was a pioneer for Miami’s freight industry and made many contributions to society along the way.
Ricardo Madan was born in Havana, Cuba, on Christmas Day in 1912. He passed away in Miami Springs in 2010 at the age of 97.
“Ricardo Madan was a great man and an incredible humanitarian,” Mayor Garcia said as he presented the Madan family with a beautiful plaque and declaration.
In the mid-’50s, Madan settled into beautiful Miami Springs. Madan and his late wife Susana raised their three sons — Rafael, Ricardo III and Roger Madan.
In Madan’s earlier years, he was part of the movement to overthrow the Machado dictatorship in Cuba. The successful overthrow led to him being named the Cuban consul to Puerto Rico at the young age of 24.
Upon returning to Cuba, he was given a position with the Cuban Customs Service, this experience leading to him becoming a customs broker in 1940.
In the ’40s and ’50s, he developed and ran several transportation companies, including Union Shipping and Mercury Express. He also ran daily cargo charter flights between Miami and La Havana, Key West, Miami and New York.
During this period, Madan became involved in the political movement to overthrow the Batista dictatorship. He was imprisoned on numerous occasions and in 1953 was exiled in Mexico. He was one of the principal conspirators of the famous “Ataque del Palacio” of March 13, 1957.
In the 1960s and early 1970s, he worked in various air-freight handling companies at the Miami Airport. In the early 1970s, Madan co-founded a company that was one of the first to specialize in the loading of jet cargo freighters.
Not only was Madan a successful businessman, he also was a member of the first booster club for Miami Springs Senior High School. The Madan brothers played on the first football teams at Springs High in the mid-60s.
In the early 1980s, Madan was one of the founders of the Miami Medical Team, which was created to help the Nicaraguan Contra Freedom Fighter Rebels, with medical assistance for their wounded soldiers. At the age of 75, Madan traveled to the Contra rebel camps in Nicaragua, as well as making trips to Angola and Afghanistan.
“Ricardo Madan was a visionary, a hard worker and a great example for all of us,” said Commissioner Sosa. “He worked so hard to be able to accomplish so much. That is something that people take for granted today. He came to a new country, with a new language and new people, different cultures and different alternatives. It wasn’t easy.”
Many members of the Madan family were in attendance on June 28. Commissioner Sosa moved many in the audience to tears as she spoke directly to the family.
“Being able to serve as a public servant, where sometimes you’re criticized and sometimes you’re applauded, this is what democracy is all about,” she said. “When you are able to live in a nation where people can speak, they can tell you their opinions and what they believe in. That is why your grandfather and my parents came out of Cuba and left everything. They left everything behind, searching for a better future for the new generations. Their sacrifice was incredible.”
Ricardo Madan may be gone, but his legacy lives on through his three children, six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
Every time someone drives by Ricardo Madan Way, the rich history lesson will be there for all to learn. The street sign “Ricardo Madan Way” is a reminder of the sacrifice and dedication of the man who accomplished so much in his 97 years of life, and who paved the way for the future generations.