May 30, 2009 in Nation/World

Man wins over $1 billion in lawsuit against Cuba


MIAMI – In what is considered the largest civil judgment against the Cuban government, a Miami-Dade County judge on Friday awarded more than $1 billion to a Miami man who blamed Fidel Castro and his Cuban revolutionary sidekick Che Guevara for his father’s suicide in 1959.

“What they did was torture this family and tear it apart,” Miami-Dade Judge Peter Adrien said in siding with Gustavo Villoldo, a former CIA operative who had tracked down Guevara in the jungles of Bolivia.

Jeremy Alters, Villoldo’s attorney, said he and his client will now attempt to get the money from the frozen assets of the Cuban government. Those assets are in financial institutions throughout the world.

Villoldo’s suit against Castro and Guevara was rooted in the Cuban government’s actions against a business owned by Gustavo Villoldo’s father.

Back in 1959, Guevara was named head of Cuba’s Banco Nacional and immediately began dismantling all traces of capitalism. A main target: a General Motors distributorship owned by Villoldo’s father.

It left the family ruined financially. Three weeks later, Villoldo’s heartbroken father ended his life by swallowing a bottle of sleeping pills.

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