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.

From Beatrice's deposition:
Beatrice: After we got married, the first quarrel that we had was about my relationship with Jorge Mas. And he says, "I know all about it."

I told him, "Well, why are you arguing, why are you bringing this up, why are you making a big issue out of it? If you knew before we got married, why did you marry me anyways?" And from that point on, [it] was a nonstop shadow for him.

Kutner: What was his answer when you said to him, "Why did you marry me?"
Beatrice: He told me, "Well, you know, I love you -- this, that, and the other -- but I know that you love him." He always thought that I had not stopped loving him. And that the relationship had not stopped. . . . Throughout my marriage with David, David was always saying, "I'm going to kill you . . . I'm going to destroy you, I'm going to expose your lover," and all those things. "I'm going to break your neck." He physically assaulted me a couple of times.

As Beatrice was suffering through an unhappy marriage, Jorge Mas Canosa was finding his footing as a Washington lobbyist. In 1981 he and three other prominent Cuban Americans formed the Cuban American National Foundation, reportedly at the prodding of the Reagan White House, which hoped the Cubans would help popularize the president's controversial policies in Central America.

The foundation soon made a name for itself through generous donations to political campaigns and relentless lobbying on Cuban issues, chief among them the establishment of a U.S. government radio station similar to Radio Free Europe, which would broadcast to Cuba. In 1983 Mas hosted President Reagan's visit to Miami on the 81st anniversary of Cuba's independence. In a speech introducing the president at the Dade County Auditorium, Mas praised the administration's policies in Central America.

In 1985 the Puigs had separated for what Beatrice believed was the final time. She petitioned for divorce and moved into the Atlantis condominium on Brickell Avenue with her six-year-old son Adam. In her deposition, she stated that she and Mas resumed their affair that spring after she called and asked him for help in securing permission for her aunt and uncle to come to Miami from Costa Rica. Beatrice said Mas told her to call Sen. Paula Hawkins's office and to invoke his name.

These were heady times for Mas and his colleagues at the foundation. On May 20, 1985, Radio Marti went on the air, beaming news, entertainment, and music across the Florida Straits. To commemorate the day, Beatrice wrote a poem honoring Mas. She sent it to a local Spanish-language radio station, where it was read on the air.

Scion of the eastern region, generous and dauntless,
The offspring of your homeland proudly salute you.
You stood up for your people redeeming the Mambises' heritage,
And hailing our martyrs from where you are in exile.

A few days later Beatrice found this message on her answering machine: "Hello, it's Jorge. I've had some difficulty in getting in touch with you. I'll try to call you back. If not, I'll see you on Tuesday. Thank you for everything. I was deeply, deeply, deeply moved and really touched. Thank you." (In his deposition in the paternity case, Mas denied calling Beatrice. But she had saved the tape recording, and when it was played for Mas this past February as he was giving a sworn statement in a separate lawsuit, he acknowledged that it sounded like his voice, but he couldn't be sure.)

The transcript of the radio show and the answering machine tape are now part of the court file. As further proof of her alleged relationship with Mas, Beatrice has also submitted photocopies of her appointment books, as well as her phone book, which lists Mas's private line and his car phone.

From Beatrice's deposition:
Laura Fabar, attorney for David Puig: When were these notes made? [She indicates scribbles in Beatrice's appointment books -- the initials GM, which stood for George Mas, Beatrice's pet name for Jorge Mas].

Beatrice: They were made all through the relationship. There were poems that were made every time I saw him, every time something happened, every time we made love, every time we had an argument. I made notes on my daily pocket diary, not all the time, but sometimes, of things that happened. When I saw him, when I talked to him, or whenever I saw him somewhere.

Fabar: What was so special that you were keeping all these notes of calls and poems to Jorge Mas?

Beatrice: He was the love of my life.
Theoretically, in order to establish who is telling the truth, Beatrice's notes could be compared with Mas's own appointment books to see if the two matched. However, Mas has sworn under oath that no such records exist. When Mac Melvin, Beatrice's attorney, tried to depose Ines Gouge, Mas's personal secretary for 26 years, he learned that Gouge had recently retired and, according to Mas's sworn deposition in a separate case, had moved "up in the mountains somewhere" and couldn't be reached. (Mas's brother Ricardo, who worked for Mas as controller of Church & Tower in the Seventies and Eighties, in a recent sworn statement described his brother as "extremely organized." He testified that Jorge kept a calendar in his briefcase.)

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