First Fidel Castro's cronies took his father's car dealership. Then, they took his father's life.
Now, Gustavo Villoldo has a legal verdict for $1 billion against El Commandante himself. And he fully intends to collect, as crazy as it sounds.
Miami-Dade County Judge Peter Adrien awarded Villoldo $1.179 billion today for lost income and pain and suffering and in punitive damages against the Cuban dictator, telling the court that "what they did was torture this family and tear it apart."
Jeremy Alters, who litigated Villoldo's case along with Beth Vogelsang, says the verdict is more than just symbolic.
"We will collect a large portion of it," Alters tells Riptide. "There are assets belonging to Castro that are seized around the world right now. And with the opening of relations between the U.S. and Cuba to come, there are debts to society to be paid before that happens."
Villoldo is an incredible character -- he survived the Bay of Pigs invasion, then tracked Che Guevera for the CIA all the way to Che's death in the mountains of Bolivia. Read more about him and the verdict after the jump.
Before Castro took power, Villoldo's father owned a GM dealership in Cuba. Che Guevera immediately seized it when he took over the nation's economy. A few weeks later, under the threat of execution, Villoldo's father killed himself with an overdose of sleeping pills.
"This torture happened 50 years ago, but it's lasted a lifetime for this family," Alters says.
Villoldo fled Cuba a few weeks after his father's death. He took part in the Bay of Pigs invasion, became an officer in the U.S. Army and then helped the CIA track Che to his ill-fated revolution in Bolivia.
"Gustavo is a hero. No one deserves this award more than him," Alters says.
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