Juan Pablo Roque is a dashing ex-Cuban Air Force pilot who swam shark-infested waters to reach freedom. Ana Margarita Martinez is a conservative Miami Cuban-American girl raised to hate Fidel Castro. In 1992, they found each other inside a church during Sunday service. Over the next three years, their love blossomed along with their hatred for el Barbudo. But on Feb. 23 1996, a year after Juan and Ana Margarita tied the knot, he vanished from their home.
Days later, shortly after Cuban MiGs shot down two civilian aircraft carrying members of Brothers to The Rescue -- a group Roque belonged to that searched for rafters in the Florida Straights -- he reemerged in Havana. He denounced his Exilio brethren and revealed himself as a double agent. His marriage to Ana Margarita was a sham in a spook mission to infiltrate the group. Now Martinez's jilted love story is getting the Lifetime Television treatment. Her tale is featured on tonight's premiere episode of the appropriately titled, My Life Is A Lifetime Movie.
Martinez is holding a viewing party in a downtown Miami restaurant to celebrate her reality television debut. The Lifetime special comes three weeks after Roque resurfaced in an exclusive interview with the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting. According to the report, Roque is so broke that he is trying to sell his house and a prized Rolex he bought in Miami.
The 57-year-old double agent said he was sorry for the four people who were killed in the Feb. 24, 1996, incident. "If I could travel in a time machine," he said, "I'd get those boys off the planes that were shot down."
But he had no apology for Martinez, who won a $27 million judgement against the Cuban government in 2001.She alleged the Castro regime victimized her by ordering Roque to marry her. However, she has only collected $200,000 from the seizure of Cuban airplanes that have arrived in the United States.
In 2010, Martinez -- who had the marriage annulled in 1999 -- had her lawyers file motions in state court to garnish eight Miami charter companies that arrange flights to Cuba, alleging she had the right to go after entities doing business with the Cuban government to collect a legal debt. At the time Miami New Times profiled Martinez and how she was still coping from Roque's betrayal 13 years later, including undergoing brain wave therapy to reduce her trauma.
The U.S. Justice Department intervened to have her motions moved to federal court on the grounds her efforts would end charter flights to Cuba. The Obama administration argued that the charter flights are a vital part of U.S. foriegn policy. A federal judge denied her motions last year. Martinez says the U.S.government should have stayed out of her legal fight.
"The Obama administration trampled on my rights as a U.S. citizen who was wronged on U.S. soil," she says. "And they did it on behalf of the Cuban government."
Ana Margarita Martinez's viewing party is being held at Miss Yip Chinese Bistro, located at 900 Biscayne Blvd. Festivities begin at 8:30. Her story debuts on The Lifetime channel at 10 p.m. this evening.