CIA agent wins $2.8 billion lawsuit against Cuba

A sculpture of Che Guevara in Central Park, New York  (AFP Photo / Timothy A. Clary)
A Miami judge is ordering the country of Cuba to fork over $2.8 billion to the former CIA asset that helped authorities locate Che Guevara in 1967. Cubans don’t give a crap though.

Gustavo Villoldo fled to America in 1959 after Fidel Castro’s communist revolution overthrew the Batista regime. His father, also Gustavo Villoldo, was a wealthy entrepreneur but after the communist government took the power he was forced to give over his business to the new government and committed suicide.

Less than a month later, the younger Villoldo sought exile in America and joined the Army. He attempted to thwart Castro by participating in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion and eventually joined the CIA. It was there that he helped track down Guevara in the Bolivian jungle with other exiles working for the Central Intelligence Agency. He pointed authorities towards Guevara, who was caught by the Bolivian army and executed days later.

Since retiring from the CIA, Villoldo sued the Cuban government in a Miami, Florida court, claiming that communists under Castro have issued threats since the death of Guevara. The Cuban government, however, never responds to settlements such as this. Therefore, lawsuits against the country are almost automatically approved by US courts. What makes this case exceptional is the sum of the settlement, nearly $3 billion. Attorneys aren’t sure if they’ll receive the sum in full though. Since Cuba has no assets in the US, it is unclear exactly how the family will claim the settlement, but attorneys feel like they will be compensated accordingly.

Andrew Hall, the attorney for Villoldo, told The Associated Press that they will attempt to collect from frozen Cuban assets in America and abroad. “One way or another, Cuba will pay for the pain caused to Gustavo and his family,” Hall said. The settlement is believed to be the largest US civil judgment ever against the country of Cuba.

Two years ago, a Miami judge already pinned the blame of Villoldo’s suicide on the country of Cuba and ordered them to pay over $1 billion to the family. The estate has been unable to collect compensation so far, and it will no doubt be near impossible for them to bring in an additional billion dollars-plus. In the original decision, Judge Peter Adrien said that the country’s threats of the elder Villoldo “rose to such a level of depravity” that it was equivalent to torture.