Mario Prieto López and Niurka Ricardo Hidalgo, the parents of the Spaniard sentenced to 12 years in prison in Cuba for demonstrating peacefully on July 11, 2021, plead with the Government of Pedro Sánchez to intercede with the Cuban regime to help your son. A 27-year-old man who -until March 13, 2020, when he returns to the island- lived in the United States with the sole hope of saving enough to be able to buy his family a house in Spain. “In Roquetas de Mar or Zamora, which is where his great-grandparents are from, the grandparents of his father,” her mother explains to LD.
As a result of a family misfortune – the death of his sister due to cancer – he decides to spend time with his parents on the Caribbean island. His stay had to be extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic and that is why he was there on 11J, the day the events occurred. the massive protests of the Cuban people, which unleashed the largest wave of repression in memory by the communist regime. Those who participated have been singled out, persecuted and/or imprisoned; their families, have been subjected to surveillance, harassment and threats.
That of Mario Josué too, but they have already got used to living with the shadow of the punishing hand of the dictatorship over their heads. What the parents of the young man, who believed their son was safe since he went to live outside the Caribbean island, cannot bear is to see him in jail without having committed any crime, nor has a trial been held with the guarantees relevant legal
They know that alone they cannot succeed in breaking the regime to free their son. They live in a country where there is no justice and human rights are violated constantly. But Mario Josué is a Spanish citizen, as his passport indicates. That is why they appeal to intervention of the Government of Spainwhich also boasts of having good relations with the Castro regime.
Letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
After unsuccessful attempts to obtain the release of Mario Josué, through the Embassy in Havana and the Consulate of Spain in Miami, Mario and Niurka decided to go one step further and contact the Spanish Foreign Ministry. The August 10 they send a letter to the department headed by José Manuel Albares, accompanied by all documentation certifying your son’s case.
They do it through the Cuban Observatory of Human Rights, to make sure that the Cuban regime does not intercept the message and it gets through. In the letter, dated July 24, 2022, they explain in detail the story of the young man, who is serving a sentence for sedition of 12 years in prison in the provincial prison of Holguín (Cuba), for the mere fact of “peacefully demonstrating against the miserable living conditions of the Cuban people.”
According to his parents in the text, during the trial “the prosecutor did not present sufficient or valid evidence for the Court to convict him” and “the conditions in the criminal investigation jail were inhumane.” So much so that “He has lost more than 20 kilos since his arrest. He is skin and bone”.
As the documentation attached to the letter shows, there is the added circumstance that Mario Josué requires psychiatric follow-up. She has been diagnosed with “personality disorder, neurosis and suicidal risk”. However, he “has not been seen by a psychiatrist since he entered prison, nor has he been given medication according to the treatment he had before his arrest.” Drugs that -in addition- his parents are forced to “buy on the black market because there are none in the pharmacy.”
Neither Cuban nor Spanish
“Cuba only recognizes Cuban citizenship” for Mario Josué Prieto Ricardo, and with that argument it denies him – for example – his right to receive “consular services” now that he is in jail. Something totally incomprehensible considering that “the only national identification document is the Spanish passport”says the letter.
Because he resides abroad, in this case in Virginia, the communist regime does not allow him “to have a Cuban national identification document” or “access to free public services or in national currency.”
For all intents and purposes, he is treated “as if he were a foreigner.” For the only thing in which the dictatorship has taken him as one more Cuban has been to prosecute him for expressing his opposition to the regime in the 11J protests and convicting him of sedition in a “political trial”.
Appeal to Spain
Mario and Niurka demand that Spain intervene so that justice is done, taking into account the circumstances described and appealing to article 5 of “Law 40/2006, of December 14, on the Statute of Spanish Citizens Abroad” which establishes that “The General Administration of the State and that of the Autonomous Communities, within the scope of their respective powers, will pay special attention to those who find themselves in situations of need and to those deprived of liberty, fundamentally those sentenced to death or life imprisonment, as well as Spanish citizens who have been victims of crimes against humanity in processes of political repression“.
“Spain has sovereignty and legitimacy to protect Mario Josué Prieto Ricardo and to act and demand that the Cuban authorities transfer him to Spain. The Spanish State is obliged to protect it because he is a Spanish citizen who is a political prisoner in Cuba, a country where the conditions and treatment of prisoners do not meet the minimum standards established by international law, even more so, when suffering from serious health problems who put their lives at risk”, remember these desperate parents who close the letter begging for help “with their hearts in their hands”.