A Miami judge has awarded more than $1 billion in damages to a Cuban-American who was involved in the 1967 capture and killing of revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Peter Adrian said Friday he was sending a signal to the Cuban government. The message might be, "You'll never get paid, buddy."
Such a large damage award may be impossible to collect but attorneys involved in the case insist they'll try.
The award came in a lawsuit filed by Gustavo Villoldo, who blamed Guevara, Fidel Castro and others for his father's 1959 suicide in Cuba. The family fled to the U.S. The 76-year-old Villoldo later took part in the CIA's Bay of Pigs invasion and was involved in the capture of Guevara in Bolivia.
Cuba's current government refused to respond to the lawsuit and offered no defense. BUt the communist nation has paid up to some degree in thepast.
In 1996, Cuba paid about half of a $187 million claim to relatives of the three victims in the shootdown of two Brothers to the Rescue planes by a Cuban MiG. That money came from Cuba's frozen assets in New York, but that money is all but dried up. Cuba has the rest of its nation's riches stashed in banks all over the world.
We doubt Fidel and Raul will be visiting a Swiss bank to write a billion dollar check. Villoldo might have a better chance of convincing the brothers that they made a mistake when they turned the country communist.