Photo: Albert Santiago du Bouchet
One of the scores of former Cuban political prisoners given refuge in Spain committed suicide this week on Grand Canary Island, his former girlfriend told Efe on Friday.
Ana Iris said that she, Albert Santiago du Bouchet and their two children arrived in Spain on April 8, 2011.
At first the family lived in hostels in Torremolinos and Malaga for close to four months until Du Bouchet went to look for work in Las Palmas because he knew a Cuban doctor there.
But he was unsuccessful and survived on aid from the Spanish government.
Last week he called Iris and told her he was thinking of returning to Madrid to begin the process of emigrating to the United States.
In a second call to his son, the journalist admitted that he was “very sad,” since after “struggling so many years in Cuba and being now in a free country,” he couldn’t find a job and saw little hope of getting one.
“He didn’t even have enough money for food,” said Iris, who has asked Spanish authorities to pay for her flight to Las Palmas and for “all the procedures” necessary for his cremation.
The woman said Du Bouchet’s body was found Wednesday and that police contacted her the following day.
Like the other dissidents welcomed into the country, Du Bouchet and his family benefited from an aid plan stipulated to last one year, with the option of a six-month extension.
The plan consisted in economic aid to the amount of 700 euros ($916) a month for renting a home, 180 euros ($235) for each member of the family to live on, plus allowances for transportation and medical coverage.
Now the government is studying whether to give more economic aid to dissidents and their families still in Spain, a total of some 500, who are still without work due to the poor economy or because they have been unable to get their professional licenses accredited.
The Cuban dissidents plan to gather next Tuesday in Madrid to stage a protest and call attention to their plight.