Love and Cuba

Jorge Mas Canosa says a Miami woman tried to smear his reputation and extort millions from him. She says he is the father of her child. Both have sworn they are telling the truth.

Dr. Nancy Greenfield, a psychiatrist and expert witness hired by Mas, recounted her interview with David Puig in prison. According to Greenfield, David began to sob when he spoke about missing his children, re-enacting his memories of feeding Peter when he was a baby by cradling his arms and making a motion as if he were kissing a baby's foot. She described Puig as "extremely sincere." In contrast, Greenfield characterized Beatrice as obsessive and narcissistic and said Beatrice feels it is acceptable to distort the truth. She added that, in her expert opinion, it would be "extremely destructive and damaging" to proceed with the paternity case.

Judge Fierro praised Greenfield's testimony as "compelling" and extensively cited her remarks in his final order issued this past December 27. David Puig "has financially, emotionally, and physically cared for the child when it has been within his ability to do so," Fierro wrote. "The father has not abandoned the child but has tried to maintain his relationship with his son despite his incarceration."

He added: "The Court finds that it is uncontroverted that [Mas] wants nothing to do with the child." Fierro ruled it was not in the boy's best interest to continue the proceedings. He denied Beatrice's request for a blood test and dismissed the lawsuit. Mac Melvin has appealed Fierro's order.

Two counts of damages against Mas remain pending as part of the paternity suit. Similar in substance to the other allegations, but differing slightly from a legal standpoint, these charges allege that Mas had a duty "not to trick or deceive" his son regarding the fact that he was the boy's biological father.

Maurice Kutner, Mas's attorney, calls the charges "a joke." The case is over, he declares. "It was about a vindictive, mercenary woman who didn't care anything about her kid and who tried to make a big score against someone she met at the phone company who she thinks has a lot of money."

In April 1989, Beatrice Puig wrote a poem that seemed to give expression to a profound sense of frustration at being hopelessly torn between conflicting desires:

Cuba! If I did not love you so, I would hate your name
Since your problems steal from me the love of that man
Who carries in his deep voice the pattern ofyour mountains
And in his veins the fire of your Mambi race,
That man who keeps for you his struggles,
His restlessness, his afflictions, his ideals, his pillars,
And who in vain my humble heart calls,
For in your sad flag his passion was lost.
Cuba! Proud rival that I venerate,
Your most faithful soldier is my martyrdom,
Because in his tenacious battle to liberate you,
He involves himself in a thousand battles, decisively,
And I lose his soul in your defeats
And in all your victories his love!

Lately Beatrice has been thinking less about her homeland. She is getting older now, and suffers from a disease of the inner ear that causes debilitating bouts of dizziness. She is gradually losing her hearing.

Currently she operates her own business, renting office space and providing secretarial services to small firms. But what will her son do, she wonders, if the illness progresses, if she can no longer work?

During her court case, she testified that she was no longer certain that Jorge Mas Canosa is the best man to lead Cuba. "He's a very dominant person that manipulates -- knows how to manipulate people," she said. "It is his word and nobody else's. It is his law and nobody else's. And he doesn't like people to cross him. . . . I'm just thinking that if he cannot have his way, it cannot be anybody's way -- and that will not be good governmental policy."

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