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Jose Lera - Immigrant Stories

Jose Lera was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, and learned a lucrative trade maintaining maritime engines. Shortly after marrying Yeni Maza, the couple immigrated to Florida in 1995. They struggled to learn the language and adapt to the American culture, but due to the help of friends and mentors, Jose eventually opened his own maritime maintenance business in the Florida Keys. Jose and Yeni are now proud citizens of the United States.

Interview Links

Abstract

Interview Session 01 (Audio)

Growing up in Venezuela, marriage and immigration to Florida

Interview Session 02 (Audio)

Adjusting to life in America and starting a business

Related Materials

See Also

The interview with Jose's wife, Lena, also in the Immigrant Stories project.


Photos

Caption

Jose’s mother and father Adrian Lera Cavada and Luisa Sanchez de Lera are pictured on their wedding day in Caracas, Venezuela in 1955.

Where:

Caracas, Venezuela

When:

1955

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Jose, at age 3, and his father, Adrian, are fishing in La Guaira, Venezuela in 1968. Jose fondly remembers his father loving to go fishing.

Where:

La Guaira, Venezuela

When:

1968

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Jose’s all-time favorite surfboard that he made in the early 1980’s in Caracas, when he was about 20 years old.

Where:

Caracas, Venezuela

When:

Early 1980's

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Jose at 19 years old, circa 1984, made surfboards with his friend Jose Luis Maga (Chelu) in Caracas, Venezuela. They would take the boards to Puerto Rico and arrange to buy supplies on the way back.

Where:

Caracas, Venezuela

When:

circa 1984

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Jose and good friend, Jose Luis Maga (Chelu) surfing in Rincon, Puerto Rico. They were in Puerto Rico to sell the surfboards they had made together.

Where:

Rincon, Puerto Rico

When:

circa 1980's

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Jose rode motorcycles as a young man and this picture was taken in Venezuela on the way to Los Alamos Merida. He was 24 years old in 1989.

Where:

Los Alamos Merida, Venezuela

When:

1989

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

After living with friends since coming to the United States, Jose was finally able to secure his first apartment in Miami in 1995. He’s emptying one of only seventeen boxes of possessions he brought with him when he left Venezuela.

Where:

Miami, Florida

When:

1995

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Jose with his children Gabe and Nicole on Christmas day at their home in Grassy Key, Florida. 2003. (Narrator’s photo)

Where:

Grassy Key, Florida

When:

2003

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Jose received his United States Citizenship certificate on August 22, 2008 in Miami, Florida.

Where:

Miami, Florida

When:

August 22, 2008

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Jose proudly displays his United States Citizenship certificate shortly after the ceremony in Miami, Florida, 2008. (Narrator’s photo)

Where:

Miami, Florida

When:

2008

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

The family gathered for a family photo at Carlo’s home in Weston, Florida in 2015. Shown from front to back are Antonia Canero (Jose’s second cousin), Conchita (Jose’s aunt), Carlos Puche (Jose’s cousin) and Jose.

Where:

Weston, Florida

When:

2015

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Jose’s sister, Monica Lera with her children, Cristina and Andres shown in Madrid, Spain, 2015.

Where:

Madrid, Spain

When:

2015

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Jose is pictured with his friend Georgina Ponzoa at her home in Key Colony Beach, Florida in 2016.

Where:

Key Colony Beach, Florida

When:

2016

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Conchita, Jose’s aunt, and Lucas Ponzoa, a good friend, who served as an important mentor in Jose’s life. They are shown here in Lucas’s home in Key Colony Beach, Florida, 2016.

Where:

Key Colony Beach, Florida

When:

2016

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

During a trip to Disney World in Orlando in 2016, grandparents Diana and Jose pose with their grandchildren, Nicole and Gabe.

Where:

Disney World, Florida

When:

2016

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Luisa, Jose’s mother, and Gabe Lera on his prom night. The picture was taken in Marathon, Florida in 2016.

Where:

Marathon, Florida

When:

2016

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Jose’s sister Monica is shown with Jose’s brother Adrian Lera and his niece Andrea Lera in Caracas, Venezuela in 2016.

Where:

Caracas, Venezuela

When:

2016

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Adrian, Jose’s nephew, is celebrating his 31st birthday while living and working in England in 2016.

Where:

England

When:

2016

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Jose is pictured in a casual photo in March, 2017.

Where:

Unknown

When:

March, 2017

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo



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