Cuban Custody Case Finally Settled

Lawyers in the case of a marooned five-year-old Cuban girl reached a settlement this afternoon.

And the big winner is the girl’s dad, Rafael Izquierdo.

And, of course, the little girl herself. And justice.

“It’s a victory,” says Steve Weinger, Izquierdo’s lawyer, who took the case pro bono. “He gets sole custody of his daughter.”

The agreement, which must still be approved by the family court, allows the family of famed baseball agent Joe Cubas, who is married the five year old’s mother -- to visit every other weekend for 25 months, Weinger says.

After that, Izquierdo could take the girl “anywhere in the world he wants….and that includes Cuba,” Weinger says.

If Izquierdo chooses to stay in Miami, Cubas family would be allowed two more years of visits, the Miami Herald reported.

The case has drawn international attention for two reasons: 1) It echoes that of little Elian Gonzalez, whose custody case caused enormous protests and international outrage a decade ago, and 2) Cubas has amassed an astounding reputation for attracting Cuban baseball players to defect to the United States.

The court had earlier decided in Izquierdo’s favor and the state had appealed. If Miami Dade Judge Jeri Cohen approves the settlement, that appeal would likely be dropped.

Chuck Strouse

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Chuck Strouse is the former editor in chief of Miami New Times. He has shared two Pulitzer Prizes and won dozens of other awards. He is an honors graduate of Brown University and has worked at newspapers including the Miami Herald and Los Angeles Times.
Contact: Chuck Strouse