Monday, September 25, 2023

Cuba to pay two Cuban Americans $2.6 billion for torture, federal judge says

A federal judge in Colorado has ruled that Cuba must pay $2.595 million in damages to the children of Gustavo Villoldo Argilagos, a prominent businessman with dual Cuban and American citizenship who was bullied and forced to commit suicide by Ernesto “Che” Guevara in 1959.

Judge Nina Wang’s verdict marks a legal victory for brothers Alfredo and Gustavo Villoldo, who have been trying for years to recover an original $2.79 billion judgment against the Cuban government, handed down in 2011 by a court in the State of Florida. The New Judgment The law signed on September 1 would allow the brothers to collect the state court judgment in Colorado, where they believe Cuba has assets.

Cuba has not defended itself in court. The Cuban Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This Is A Photograph Of Gustavo Villoldo Argilagos, Who Committed Suicide A Few Days After Fidel Castro Came To Power In Cuba On January 1, 1959.
This is a photograph of Gustavo Villoldo Argilagos, who committed suicide a few days after Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba on January 1, 1959.

In March, Judge Wang sided with the Villoldo brothers and agreed that Cuba was responsible for the death of Villoldo Argilagos and the torture of his son Gustavo, but was unconvinced by the allegations of torture against their brother Alfred. He also brought up other legal issues that he was expected to address in more detail in a new motion.

Since Cuba failed to pay, the brothers, now in their 80s, attempted to collect the money by searching the United States for assets allegedly owned by the Cuban government. Nevertheless, several attempts in different states failed.

Gustavo Villoldo, who lives in Miami, said he could not comment on the verdict because the legal battle is ongoing.

The son of an American mother and a Cuban father who received US citizenship at birth, Villoldo Argilagos was a successful businessman who studied law at Harvard University and business administration at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania before becoming the Owner of one of the first General Motors dealerships in Cuba. But shortly after Fidel Castro took power in January 1959, he was targeted for his US citizenship and wealth, the original complaint said.

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“Members of Castro’s security forces, led by Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, repeatedly harassed Mr. Villoldo and his family members at his home and businesses,” the document said. “Che Guevara, members of the rebel army, and members of the Interior Ministry continued to threaten Mr. Villoldo and forcibly led him out of his home several times with machine guns to the throat.”

Castro’s forces arrested his two sons and beat and tortured Gustavo, the complaint said.

Guevara accused Villoldo Argilagos of treason and told him he would kill his family if he did not give up his property and commit suicide, the indictment said. The businessman was found dead by apparent suicide on February 16, 1959.

In her 2011 ruling, Miami Judge Beatrice Butchko found that these acts amounted to terrorism and torture and allowed foreign states to sue in US courts, even though the law grants foreign governments a general principle of immunity.

Gustavo Villoldo, Former Cia Agent, Shows Photos Of The Body Of
Gustavo Villoldo, a former CIA agent, shows photos of the body of “Che” Guevara.

Castro confiscated all of Villoldo’s businesses, real estate, bank accounts, and a farm.

His children fled to the United States after their father’s death, and Gustavo Villoldo found his revenge as a CIA adviser who helped the Bolivian government track down and kill Guevara in 1967. This, in turn, made him the target of assassinations allegedly orchestrated by Castro’s men, he told the Florida court.

World Nation News Desk
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