Siro Del Castillo

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Siro del Castillo (Havana, 1943) "attended Belen Jesuit School. At age 17 and still a student, he was arrested for his involvement in anti-Castro activities. Because of his youth, his sentence was set to end on his 21st birthday. From 1964 to 1970, Mr. del Castillo worked as an architectural designer for the National Institute of Tourism. In 1970, he resigned and was sent to a forced-labor farm. In March 1972, he finally obtained permission to leave the country.

"During the Mariel boat lift, Mr. del Castillo assumed a variety of responsibilities: at Metro Dade County's processing center; Krome Refugee Camp for Cubans and, later, the Krome Haitian Camp; the US Department of State's Cuban-Haitian Task Force; and the Cuban Refugee Detention Camp in Fort Chaffee, Arkansas. Subsequently, he directed the Cuban resettlement project of the Little Havana Activities Center in New Orleans, which worked with the Cuban detainees at the Atlanta Federal Prison. Since then, he has continued to work on behalf of Cuban and other immigrants to the United States as well as in defense of human rights in the Caribbean. During the Cuban rafter crisis in 1994, Mr. del Castillo was named Assistant to the Ombudsman for the General at Guantanamo Naval Base. In 1994-1995, he traveled often to the base and worked with United Way to help prepare the refugees for life in the United States.

"Mr. del Castillo has a long record of civic activism. Monsignor Agustín Román asked him to join his Task Force of Cuban Civic Organizations. He is on the boards of the Miami Mental Health Center and the Krome Stakeholders. He is a member of FACE (Facts About Cubans Exiles) and of several human rights organizations. He belongs to the Christian Democratic Party of Cuba and works on its human rights commission. In that capacity, he has addressed the UN Commission of Human Rights in Geneva. He is also active in the Miami Hispanic arts community. In addition, he has served as the Caribbean Commissioner for CLADEHLT (the Latin American Commission for the Rights and Liberties of Workers and Peoples).

"In 2000, Mr. del Castillo received two prestigious awards. In February, the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center honored him with the Liberty and Justice for All award. In September, FACE selected him for its Directors´ Award.

"Mr. del Castillo is senior electrical designer at Manuel Perea P.E. Inc., Consulting Engineers. He is also an artist and has had his paintings exhibited frequently over the past two decades. He lives in Miami with his wife and son." [1]

In 2003 he was a board member of the Memory, Truth and Justice: Comparative Perspectives on National Reconciliation.