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Mucarsel-Powell Introduces Bipartisan Resolution Calling For Release Of Cuban Political Prisoner

Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC -- Yesterday, U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26), the first Ecuadorian immigrant Member of Congress and member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, introduced House Resolution 1172, Calling for the Release of Cuban Political Prisoner Silverio Portal Contreras. 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.

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. "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."

Mucarsel-Powell was joined by Republicans and Democrats in condemning Cuba's actions. Current cosponsors of the resolution include Donna Shalala (D-FL), Brian Mast (R-FL), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Ted Yoho (R-FL), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Charlie Crist (D-FL), Al Lawson (D-FL), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Juan Vargas (D-CA), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Ron Kind (D-WI), Bradley S. Schneider (D-IL), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), Susan Wild (D-PA).

Text of H.Res. 1172, Calling for theRelease of Cuban Political Prisoner Silverio Portal Contreras,can be found HERE.