I have spoken before in these blogs about my great admiration for Juan José Cortes. He is the father of little Mari Luz Cortes who was taken from near her home in January and her body was found floating in the cold waters of the river estuary at Huelva several weeks later in March. The family’s neighbour, convicted paedophile Santiago Del Valle, has admitted kidnapping her but disputes the manner of her death.
Juan José Cortes, of gypsy stock, has acted with strength of mind, serenity and moderation since the death of the five-year old to try to bring profound change to the legal system in Spain. Over 2.5 million people have signed a petition started by Juan José and his family along with their many supporters to demand tougher sentences for paedophiles, to require that the whereabouts of paedophiles are notified to parents and the authorities as well as ensuring that those convicted of child murders are never released. The Spanish Parliament will debate this measure in the coming months.
Many awards have been showered on this man and more will be in the future. The latest is the ‘Medalla de Oro’ of his native province, Huelva. He has accepted the award with grace and stated that it is in recognition of his campaign to ensure that no family has to suffer again the pain that his has endured.
A gold medal it may be, but let us make no mistake here, it is worthless when compared with the loss of his little one, Mari Luz.