Xavier Suárez

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Xavier Louis Suárez
Miami-Dade County Commissioner District 7
In office
May 24, 2011 – present
Mayor of Miami
In office
November 14, 1997 – March 12, 1998
Preceded by Joe Carollo
Succeeded by Joe Carollo
In office
November 14, 1985 – November 11, 1993
Preceded by Maurice Ferré
Succeeded by Stephen P. Clark
Personal details
Born (1949-05-21) May 21, 1949 (age 72)
Las Villas, Cuba
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Rita
Residence Miami
Alma mater Villanova University (B.M.E.)
Harvard University (J.D.)
Occupation Lawyer

Xavier Louis Suárez (born May 21, 1949) is an American politician in Miami who was the first Cuban-born mayor of Miami and is currently a Miami-Dade county commissioner.


He was born on born May 21, 1949. Suárez attended the Colegio de Belén[1][2] but graduated from St. Anselm's Abbey School[3] in 1967, earned a degree in engineering from Villanova University in 1971, and later studied government and law at Harvard University. He later returned to Miami and built his support in the city's Cuban community, and was sworn in as mayor on November 13, 1985, replacing Puerto Rico-born Maurice Ferré.

Suárez was first elected Mayor in 1985. He was re-elected in 1987 and again in 1989 for a four-year term. Suarez was highly regarded as Mayor of Miami. According to a March 30, 1993 article in The Miami Herald, "In 1989, [Suárez] won national admiration when he waded through hostile crowds in Overtown during civil disturbances to try to make peace." Suarez cited the construction of 1,500 affordable homes as one of his "proudest achievements" during his tenure. He was also given the name "pothole Mayor" for his attention to City neighborhoods. In 1993 Suarez got the Latin Builder's Association to donate $150,000 to rebuild the only Catholic elementary school in Overtown. He decided not to run again in 1993 in order to spend more time with his family. He returned to practice law in Miami before he decided to run again in November 1997 and was re-elected.

His opponent, Joe Carollo, challenged the election in court. The judge presiding over the case decided to throw out all absentee ballots after it was revealed that many of the ballots had been cast by dead voters, felons, and others who were ineligible to vote. This change forced Suárez to resign, and Carollo became mayor.

During his time as Mayor, Suárez also received attention for refusing to greet South African President Nelson Mandela during his 1990 tour of the United States which included a stop in Miami. Suárez was in disagreement with Mandela's comments where he referred to Cuban President Fidel Castro as a "comrade in arms" due to Castro's support for the African National Congress.[4]


He was the 9th child and 2nd son of 14 children of Manuel Suárez-Carreno, the first Dean of the School of Engineering at the Universidad Católica de Santo Tomás de Villanueva (St. Thomas of Villanova Catholic University), and Eloisa Gaston. He is married to Rita and they have four children, Francis Xavier, Olga Marie, Anna Teresita, and Carolina Suárez.[2]

His son, Francis Xavier, is now the commissioner for the City of Miami from District 4.[5]


  1. The International Jesuit Alumni Directory – Belen (Forum Press Inc., 1994) page 305
  2. 2.0 2.1 The International Jesuit Alumni Directory – Belen (Bernard C. Harris Publishing Company, Inc., 2004) page 251
  3. Fisher, Marc. "NE School's Old Order: St. Anselm's Offers Academic Toughness." Washington Post, December 6, 1986, page A1.
  4. "Mandela Snubbed In Miami". Chicago Tribune. June 29, 1990. Retrieved December 5, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Suarez Wins Seat, Spence-Jones May Run Again". CBS4. November 18, 2009. Retrieved November 18, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>