Photo: Gustavo Villoldo's father was pushed by the Castro government to commit suicide
For years, Gustavo Villoldo and his family have lived in pain after his father, who shares the same name, was practically tortured, threatened, and pushed to commit suicide by the Cuban government in the years after Fidel Castro came into power. This week, a Miami judge awarded the family a record-breaking $2.8 billion.
Before Castro took power, Villodo’s father owned a number of successful businesses including a car dealership, a car station. The family owned additional real estate but all was lost. Like many of the wealthy families in Cuba at the time of the Castro’s revolution, assets, bank accounts and any other wealth were taken away. Many of these families were arrested, tortured and/or killed.
Sadly, it is unlikely that the family will see much of $2.8 billion judgment, as Cuba has long said they will not pay damages in these cases. In response, lawyers like Villoldo’s have gone after Cuban-linked assets around the world to seize even a portion of what it owed to their clients.
In her judgment, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Beatrice Butchko wrote that the actions taken against Villoldo and his family were so terrible that they were equivalent to torture, writing that the father “was told repeatedly that he, his sons, and his wife would be killed, unless he acquiesced to the turnover of his property and took his own life.”
Judge Butchko’s ruling comes just two years after another judge awarded the family $1 billion. Again, Cuba refused to pay.
After the threats against their family, the Villoldo family were exiled and moved to the U.S.. Villoldo, the son, ended up training with the U.S. Army and working with the CIA.