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Honoring Ms. Sylvia G. Iriondo

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart

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Mr. Speaker, as we celebrate Women's History Month, I rise to honor one of South Florida's finest community leaders, Ms. Sylvia G. Iriondo.

Sylvia was born in the city of Havana, Cuba and currently resides in Key Biscayne, Florida. She has spent over 40 years in the real estate business, serving as Co-Owner and President of two successful businesses: Tarafa & Iriondo Corporation/Realtors and Tarafa & Iriondo Corporation/Property Management Services. She also currently serves as a Broker-Associate with the prestigious real-estate firm of Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell, Inc. of Key Biscayne. Sylvia has served the real estate community as Key Biscayne Chairperson for the Miami Board of Realtors, Founder and first President of the Real Estate Professional Association of Key Biscayne, and Board Member of the Key Biscayne Chamber of Commerce.

Sylvia has made a tremendous impact in Miami and throughout the state of Florida with her civic engagement. She served as a United Way of Dade County volunteer Board Member for eight years, the maximum allowable term, and also was appointed member of the Advisory Board and Chairperson of the Program Committee for the Salvation Army. Additionally, Sylvia was appointed by Florida Governor Bob Graham to serve on two major statewide initiatives concerning elderly residents: the Governor's Commission on Aging and the State of Florida Department of Elderly Affairs.

Staying true to her cultural heritage, Sylvia has also devoted her life to advocacy for, and service to, a free and democratic Cuba. Her work began with the International Rescue Committee (IRC), the first agency in Miami to provide assistance to thousands of Cuban refugees fleeing Castro's communist regime, and the State Department of Public Welfare--Cuban Refugee Emergency Center. Sylvia continues fighting relentlessly for Cuba's freedom today, as a co-founder of M.A.R. por Cuba (Mothers & Women Against Oppression), and the Assembly of the Cuban Resistance. This organization is committed to the defense of human rights and freedoms of Cuban people, the support of Cuban political prisoners and their families, and advocating for measures and sanctions against the Castro regime. Sylvia works daily to accelerate democratic change in Cuba; her solidarity to the Cuban people is truly inspiring and admirable.

Mr. Speaker, I am honored to pay tribute to Ms. Sylvia G. Iriondo for her continued service to the Miami community. She is a woman of unmatched compassion and dedication, serving as a mother, grandmother, great grandmother, businesswoman, leader, activist and philanthropist. Sylvia's impression upon the Miami community will last for decades to come, and she will surely inspire countless young women to follow in her footsteps. I ask my colleagues to join me in recognizing this outstanding individual, and I wish her continued success and happiness in the future.