Cuban Regime Frees Silverio Portal Contreras After Florida Delegation Rallied for His Release

After the Florida delegation rallied behind a resolution calling for his release, the Cuban regime freed political prisoner Silverio Portal Contreras

Back in October, U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Fla., introduced the resolution and rounded up almost a dozen members of the Florida delegation behind it.

“Portal Contreras, an Afro-Cuban activist, was arbitrarily arrested in 2016 and sentenced to four years in prison in 2018 after protesting in Havana against the Cuban regime. While in prison, Portal Contreras’ health has severely declined from inadequate medical attention, and he has been beaten so severely by security officials that he has reportedly been left blind in one eye,” the congresswoman’s office noted. “Several governmental bodies and organizations have expressed urgent concerns about his health or called for Portal Contreras’ unconditional release, including the European Parliament, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and Amnesty International.”

“Silverio Portal Contreras was imprisoned for nothing more than speaking out against the Castro regime for cruel human rights violations,” said Mucarsel-Powell when she introduced the resolution. “Silverio needs urgent medical attention, and my bipartisan colleagues and I are calling on the Cuban authorities to immediately release him. The Cuban regime must end its egregious politically-motivated arrests of its citizens who advocate for human rights and democracy; they must allow the free expression of thought and speech among its people.”

U.S. Reps. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., Ted Deutch, D-Fla., Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., Al Lawson, D-Fla. Brian Mast, R-Fla., Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., Donna Shalala, D-Fla., Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., and Ted Yoho, R-Fla., cosponsored the resolution which the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee sent to the U.S. House Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security and Trade Subcommittee.

On Tuesday, Mucarsel-Powell weighed in on the release.

“This is a hard-fought win for liberty. I thank all the activists and bipartisan members who joined me in pushing for Silverio Portal Contreras’ release,” said Mucarsel-Powell. “Once and for all, the Cuban regime must end its cruel, politically-motivated arrests of citizens who advocate for human rights and democracy.”

Mucarsel-Powell was defeated by Republican Carlos Giminez in last month’s election.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

 

KEVIN DERBY
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