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Congressman David Rivera's Week in Review: Week of May 21st

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Congressman David Rivera (FL-25) was in his South Florida district last week.

Congressman Rivera Announces Granting of Political Asylum for Cuban Paralympic Swimmer

Congressman Rivera joined the Cuban Patriotic Council on Thursday for a special announcement regarding Paralympic swimmer Rafael Castillo.

Castillo was a Cuban Paralympic swimmer who defected during the 2011 Parapan Games in Guadalajara, Mexico in November. He sought Political Asylum in the United States and the opportunity to represent the United States in the Paralympics in London this summer. Castillo won a Gold medal in the men's 50 meter butterfly S6, and a Silver medal in the men's 100 meter freestyle S6 at the Parapan Games.

"We are here today because of a remarkable young man, Rafael Castillo, who is the living embodiment of the triumph of the human spirit. He represents the best of what is in Cuba, but also the worst of what has occurred on the island.

"At two months of age, while being treated for dehydration, Rafael was given an expired IV, which led to a condition of gangrene in his left arm and left leg; both of which had to be amputated. Following the amputations, he and his family moved to Havana to begin a process of physical therapy and rehabilitation. He is now 25 years old, he uses a prosthetic leg and is a record-breaking swimmer. Recently, a local vendor donated a new prosthetic leg and arm," Congressman Rivera said.

"Rafael represents what is the best of what is in Cuba--people who are willing to overcome whatever obstacles are placed in their way to be able to live their dreams in freedom. We must continue to support Rafael and give a voice to his plight so that he can continue inspiring others.

"Rafael decided to defect from Cuba at the 2011 Parapan Games and seek Political Asylum in the United States. His decision to defect was not planned. He decided to defect during the games after beating a swimming record. Once he left the Parapan Games village with the help of volunteers and a friend who lived in Mexico, he took some of his belongings--including his Parapan Games medals--and rode a bus from Guadalajara to the U.S. border at Brownsville, Texas where he crossed the border and later arrived in Miami in late November. He and his trainer, Yand Martinez, and his attorneys are hoping that with the recent granting of Political Asylum, Rafael will be able to participate in the Paralympic Games in London representing the United States this summer.

"It was an honor for me to play a small part in this process and be able to help Rafael achieve his dream of participating in the Paralympic Games in London this summer," Congressman Rivera concluded.

Congressman Rivera: Dry Hole Will Not Impede Castro Regime's Plan to Enrich Itself Through Drilling

Congressman Rivera released the following statement last week after reports that Repsol found a dry hole while drilling off the coast of Cuba:

"Dry hole or not, the fact remains that Repsol, a large, multi-national corporation that does business in and with the United States, is openly doing business with a brutal dictatorship and designated State Sponsor of Terrorism without facing any consequences. The discovery of the dry hole will not impede the Castro regime's plans to enrich itself while showing no regard for environmental safely or for the well-being of the Cuban people who will never see the benefits of any oil found off Cuba's coast. I have repeatedly asked the Obama Administration to assert its authority to impose and enforce sanctions on companies doing business with State Sponsors of Terrorism by withdrawing leases on federal lands and waters. I have also sponsored legislation prohibiting these companies from contracting with the U.S. Department of Defense. It is outrageous that these irresponsible companies are currently allowed to profit from U.S. taxpayers while operating against U.S. national security interests. If this Administration won't act, then Congress must signal that collaboration with terrorist regimes is not acceptable," Congressman Rivera said.

Congressman Rivera introduced the Reinforcing Existing Permit Sanctions On Leases (REPSOL) Act, HR 3876 earlier this year. The bill would bar companies that do business with State Sponsors of Terrorism, or violate the Trading with the Enemy Act, from receiving leases on American federal lands or the American Outer Continental Shelf.

The Congressman has also filed the Foreign Oil Spill Liability (FOSL) Act. The bill amends the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to hold the owner or operator of a foreign offshore unit liable for cleanup and compensation costs in the event of a foreign oil spill that affects American waters and shores. In the event that the foreign oil spill originates from a designated State Sponsor of Terrorism, Congressman Rivera's bill calls for the liability cap and penalties to be tripled.

District Activities: Pantheon of Heroes Event

Congressman Rivera attended an event on Saturday for the Pantheon of Heroes organization. The Pantheon of Heroes is made up of former Cuban political prisoners who now live in the United States, including the organization's leader Servilio Perez was imprisoned in Cuba from 1962 to 1972. Saturday's event raised funds to help cover funeral costs for former political prisoners whose family and friends do not have the means to give them a proper and honorable burial.

District Activities: Kendall Regional Medical Center Trauma Awareness Day

Congressman Rivera attended the first annual Trauma Awareness Day hosted by Kendall Regional Medical Center on Monday. The event was held to celebrate the one year anniversary of the opening of the hospital's trauma center. Kendall Regional Medical Center features a provisional level II trauma center which increases access to trauma care for patients in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties. The Trauma Awareness Day highlighted the services provided by the center and featured local first responders as well as patients who were treated and saved at the trauma center over the past year.

District Activities: Doral Overseas Business Chamber Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Event

Congressman Rivera joined the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Miami for the Doral Overseas Business Chamber Third Annual Gala celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month on Sunday.

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Miami is one of 12 offices under the Washington, D.C.-based Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office. It represents Taiwan's interests in Florida, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. The Miami Office also offers consular services, press liaison and overseas Chinese services.

The mission of the Doral Overseas Business Chamber is to advocate and promote business and economic development in Doral and surrounding areas. The Doral Overseas Business Chamber focuses on helping member companies succeed through advocacy, information, networking and business support services and to promote commerce and industry locally and internationally.

District Activities: 2012 Spectrum International Paso Fino Horse Show

Congressman Rivera attended the 2012 Spectrum International Paso Fino Horse Show this weekend at the Ronald Reagan Equestrian Center at Tropical Park. The event in its fourth year welcomes 40,000 spectators, exhibitors and sponsors who enjoy an equestrian fair with Paso Fino performances featuring traditional Hispanic music. The Spectrum International Paso Fino Horse Show is presented by the Florida Paso Fino Horse Association, an organization made up of Paso Fino enthusiasts, trainers, amateur owners and youth riders.

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