Before the show begins, Ana Margarita flashes a grin at Fidel Castro's daughter, who wears her long brown hair in a bun and two sweaters to combat the studio's robust air conditioning. Alina Fernández Revuelta — who defected 17 years ago from the island her famous father ran — has her own evening program on the Univision-owned radio station.

In an effort to counter the criticisms, Ana Margarita has agreed to go on the air with Revuelta, who praises her guest's physical appearance during a commercial break before the interview. "You look absolutely great," Revuelta says. "You look so much younger. And your skin is radiant."

Ana Margarita informs her she's been undergoing "brain training" sessions, a form of therapy that teaches how to control brain waves that cause depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, and other mental ailments. "It has worked wonders," Ana Margarita attests. "Without it, I don't think I'd have the strength to be here."

Radio Mambí commentator Alina Fernandez Revuelta believes Ana Margarita deserves to collect her $27 million judgment.
Radio Mambí commentator Alina Fernandez Revuelta believes Ana Margarita deserves to collect her $27 million judgment.
Progreso Weekly editor Alvaro Fernandez says Ana Margarita is going after money that belongs to the Cuban people.
C. Stiles
Progreso Weekly editor Alvaro Fernandez says Ana Margarita is going after money that belongs to the Cuban people.

Revuelta nods in agreement. "I want to give it a try," she says. The host gets the signal she is about to go live. Revuelta greets her listeners and introduces her guest.

"Here I am again," Ana Margarita says, speaking into a microphone. "This has become my personal battle."

Revuelta: "You were fooled by Roque, who turned out to be a spy and is responsible for the death of the Brothers to the Rescue pilots. You were disgraced by the entire experience."

Ana Margarita: "He used me and my children for a Machiavellian mission. I felt very profound pain. My children didn't just lose their stepdad, whom they loved a lot. They lost their mother too. I was in a state of shock and trauma so great that I don't remember much from those days after he disappeared. My children were abandoned because I could not be there for them. Emotionally, psychologically, I was destroyed."

Revuelta: "You have spent many years rebuilding yourself. I've gone through some hard moments in my life, but nothing like you experienced. It's terrible. But it appears that, finally, there is a way that you will be able to get your money through these charter companies that we all know do business with Cuba."

Ana Margarita: "Well, the reason I am here is that there are some media outlets that have spun the story that I want to stop flights to Cuba. That is not my intention. And I don't have that power. Only the Cuban government has the authority to stop the flights. The Cuban government is using me as an excuse to continue dividing la familia Cubana."

Revuelta: "That is absolutely true. I don't believe it is your fault if the flights are ended. And the Cuban government will find a way to shuffle the money somewhere else, but they are not going to end the flights."

Ana Margarita: "Cuba has a debt with me. And Cuba has to pay it."

Portraits of Ana Margarita and her family hang on the walls of her mother Antonia Alvarez's living room in West Miami. More pictures adorn a shelf on a glass-top TV stand. In one photograph, her daughter, Sasha, plays with her younger brother, Omar. Other pictures show Ana Margarita, Sasha, and Omar together. But there are no images of Juan Pablo, who first locked eyes with Ana Margarita the morning of Sunday, March 15, 1992.

She was with her kids and grandmother attending service at University Baptist Church in Coral Gables. She immediately noticed Juan Pablo, who only days earlier had been all over TV news reports. He was the Cuban Air Force major who braved shark-infested waters to swim to Guantánamo Bay, seeking political asylum.

Juan Pablo cut a dashing figure with his olive skin and athletic build. At the end of the service, one of his cousins introduced him to Ana Margarita. She sensed a mutual attraction but did not act on it.

Over the next two months, they saw each other at evening Bible classes, yet they still didn't engage in conversation. The Friday night before Memorial Day, some of the church members threw a party. This time, Ana Margarita worked up the courage to chat up Juan Pablo, which led to some dancing at the party and even more dancing at a nightclub nearby. From there, the relationship gradually evolved from a close friendship to a courtship.

"We didn't date per se," Ana Margarita explains. "He wasn't the type to take me out to dinner or buy me flowers. But he was there for me and the kids. He mowed my lawn, painted my house, fixed my car. And we enjoyed dancing together. That is how he won my heart."

Within six months, Juan Pablo had moved in. According to Ana Margarita, he couldn't hold a job. He was a temporary clerk at a bank, quit to work construction, and then two months later took a position at a pharmacy. What she didn't know was that Juan Pablo was a confidential informant for the FBI. Apparently, his intel wasn't great. He received $7,000 over three years — just enough money for a Rolex and the down payment on a Jeep Cherokee.

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These comments are a little off base.  First, U.S. trade history with Cuba needs to be understood.  There has been a restrictive trade embargo against Cuba since 1960 and was actually codified into law in 1992.  The U.S. has long accused Cuba and Castro of human rights violations and other crimes - hence the embargo.  Prior to this woman's husband, the U.S. already accused Cuba of being 6 to 7 million dollars in default to America.  Even today, Americans can only travel to Cuba under certain circumstances such as a reporter for a specific instance or education.  


The embargoes and trade restrictions already implement strict regulations and decrease of trade between the country.  Further, because the U.S. says Cuba owes them 6 to 7 million dollars, all transactions with the government or corporations can only be done in cash, no credit is extended.  

When this woman was awarded her judgment (which I believe was reduced) it was awarded under 1996 anti-terrorist laws which allowed private law suits against terrorists supported by a country.  It is a very common legal theory.  Look at Enron.  If a corporation tell an employee to commit a crime, the corporation is also liable.  Same with the government.  If the chief of police tells an officer to murder random people, then the city can be liable. The money was awarded to this woman with full knowledge she would never actually see it.  


This was a way to punish the Cuban government - who revered Juan Pablo as a hero - for committing a terrorist act on American soil.  Since Juan Pablo could not be extradited, this was a creative solution. She received $194,000 from a frozen account.  Why was this account frozen?  Was it found to be supporting terrorist activity in America?  Why did the Cuban government have $194,000 in an account that the U.S. could freeze and ultimately seize?  Even in America, accounts can't be seized without cause.  


Finally, I question the validity of the fact that private Corporations are being targeted to pay of the Cuban government's debt.  This would be outside the purview of the judgment and the reach of the law.  The only way these entities would be garnished would be if the Cuban government ultimately controlled it.  


So, for those arguing that trade is being affected by this judgment, I ask how?  There is already a long standing embargo.  There is already bad blood, claims of debt owed, and refusal to extend credit.  The whole point of an embargo is to adversely affect the trade and economic growth of a country.  Not to mention the Helms-Burton act that further restricts American Corporations from doing business in Cuba.


Was this woman "awarded" a windfall? Yes.  That's also why it was reduced to 7million.  Will she ever see this money?  No.  The Courts were sending a warning, precedence, stating that if you commit or support you citizens in committing either espionage or a terrorist act on our territory, the spy will not be the only one punished, but we will hit you where it counts - in the wallet.  The Courts saw this as an opportunity to give anti-terrorist laws "teeth" without having to invade a country.  What do you do to a country that wont extradite a criminal, encourages his espionage and murder?  If we invaded every country that did this . . .well, the was a reason why the sun never set on the British empire.  There is also a reason the Brits couldn't hold all that land.  In retrospect of the Iraqi/afghani/iranian/Bush's war, this method seems to make a lot more sense.  No ones sons or daughters, husbands or wives have to die to prove a point/strength this way.


with all this said, I truly believe the embargo has caused more damaged that solutions.  I think its antiquated regulation implemented in the days of the bay of pigs and the cold war.  We over tax trade, force embargoes etc. as punishment for human rights violations.  We restrict travel so our citizens cannot unwittingly boost the economy.  Hell, even the EU has passed a law making the Helms-Burton act illegal. However, saying this woman is crazy, greedy, or affecting trade is short sighted.  This woman was a tool for the Courts to make their statements.  Nothing more.  I'm guessing the majority of that $194,000 went to attorneys fees anyway.  The judges published opinion would not so heavily investigate the legality of the reach of the 1996 anti-terrorist law and later amendments so thoroughly if it wasn't trying to make a point and set precedence.  The judgment also doesn't mention that the ex-wife's initial cause of action was rape and sexual assault.  Because that not important.  Giving teeth to the law is what mattered.  As stated before, the woman was just a tool.

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