MIAMI – Mary Tarrero de Prio, widow of Cuba’s last democratically elected president, Carlos Prio Socarras, died here Thursday of respiratory illness. She was 85.
“Though she was known for her beauty, I always most admired her bravery and compassion,” daughter Maria Elena Prio said in a statement.
Born in the western province of Camagüey, Maria Dolores Tarrero Serrano moved to Havana in the 1940s to serve as the official stenographer of the Cuban Senate, where she met then-Sen. Prio.
The couple wed on July 14, 1945, and Prio became president in 1948.
As first lady, Mary Tarrero de Prio was active on behalf of ensuring care for the blind and preventing cruelty to animals.
After the March 1952 military coup led by Fulgencio Batista, the Prio family left Cuba for Mexico and later settled in Miami, but the ousted president continue to work for the restoration of democracy on the island.
The family returned to Cuba after the success of the 1959 revolution led by Fidel Castro, only to leave again for good on seeing the new government turn into a “military dictatorship that oppressed and impoverished the Cubans,” the couple’s younger daughter said.
On April 5, 1977, Carlos Prio killed himself in the garage of the family’s Miami Beach home.
“Mary never completely recovered” from her husband’s death, Maria Elena Prio said. EFE