For Immediate Release
July 14, 2011
Congressman Rivera, Cuban-American Colleagues Urge President Obama to Meet with Reina Loina Tamayo
Washington, DC- House Foreign Affairs Committee Member Congressman David Rivera (FL-25) and three of his Cuban-American colleagues in the House, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18), Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-21) and Congressman Albio Sires (NJ-13), sent a letter to President Barack Obama this week asking him to meet with Reina Loina Tamayo, the mother of Cuban dissident Orlando Zapata Tamayo.
“We write to request that you promptly arrange a meeting with Reina Loina Tamayo, the mother of Cuban political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo. Reina arrived in the United States last month, and has passionately continued to advocate for freedom and democracy in Cuba. Her heartbreaking story must be heard, and we believe this brave woman deserves your audience and support,” the letter says.
Orlando Zapata Tamayo died in February of last year after an 83-day hunger strike to protest human rights violations and repeated beatings by the Castro regime. At the time of his death he was being held in a Cuban prison. He had been arrested several times for participating in peaceful demonstrations to demand the release of political prisoners.
After Orlando’s death, Reina and her family were harassed and often detained by Castro regime authorities until they were able to leave the island as political refugees. She and 12 family members arrived in Miami last month.
Reina was in Washington, DC this week where she spoke at a Congressional Briefing for the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Human Rights in Cuba.
“You have previously spoken out against the wrongful death of Orlando and the need for change in Cuba, and now we urge you to meet with Reina Loina Tamayo to hear her account of the abuses suffered by her family and the ongoing oppression of the Cuban people by the Castro brothers,” the Members wrote to President Obama.
The letter from Congressman Rivera, Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen, Congressman Diaz-Balart and Congressman Sires is attached to this e-mail.