Juan is a Cuban refugee. News accounts place his age at 57 in 2001, and 60 in 2004. The protester says he is not homeless; the public does not know where he lives and he occasionally appears at the Municipal building shelter. He is not on the streets to beg or busk and will usually turn down offers of money. He will also not accept food (because the police could have poisoned it).
He is so well known that journalists write of him in passing, assuming the readers know what they are talking about. Other people have even made products available; such as a drink coaster available from SeattleNotables.com, and on occasion vendors selling t-shirts to tourists include his picture. Source
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