U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, along with U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Albio Sires (D-NJ), and Joe Garcia (D-FL) today sent a letter to Secretary John Kerry requesting that the State Department give immediate consideration to the requests for humanitarian parole authorization of approximately 48 former Cuban political prisoners and their families now living as exiles in Spain. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“Hundreds and thousands of those who dared to speak out against the communist Castro regime and who had the temerity to call for freedom and democracy for Cuba were thrown in gulags and many later forced to leave their native homeland. Many of these former Cuban political prisoners who were exiled to Spain have since been reunited with their families here in the United States thanks to the humanitarian parole authorization. All of us have been working to help the Cubans in Spain for years but this recent effort is a result of the wonderful members of the Cuban American Bar Association who came to the Capitol recently to call attention to the sad plight of these left behind Cubans.
“Unfortunately, there are still several dozens who remain in Spain and they, and their families, have not been receiving sufficient humanitarian or other assistance and have been living in makeshift tents and substandard conditions. The State Department should do whatever is within its means to see that these legitimate political prisoners and their families receive fair and prompt consideration of their humanitarian parole requests and are treated humanely while in Spain or be granted entrance into the United States if they are eligible.”