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US woman wins $21M in lawsuit against Cuba

US woman wins $21M in lawsuit against Cuba

A woman who alleged that Cuban officials caused the wrongful death of her father while on a covert mission in 1963 has won a $21 million default judgment against the island nation, but her prospects of collecting may be a long shot.
Sherry Sullivan is the daughter of Geoffrey Sullivan, a former member of the U.S. Air Force and Army National Guard who became a certified commercial pilot. She believes he was shot down over Cuba, imprisoned and probably executed by the Cuban government.
Also named as defendants were former President Fidel Castro, President Raul Castro and the Cuban army. They were dismissed by Waldo County Superior Court Justice Jefrey Hjelm because it could not be determined whether they received the court documents.
The Swiss Embassy in Havana served a copy of the suit to the Cuba Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2008. Cuba never responded, leading Hjelm to issue his default judgment on Aug. 10.
Sullivan said the money is less important to her than information about her father.
"I never, never once asked for money," she told the Bangor Daily News. "I was in court asking for information, either from this government or the Cuban government, and I just can't get it done."
Daniel G. Partan, a professor of international law at Boston University School of Law, said prospects of Sullivan collecting the $21 million are "very iffy." Partan, who had not seen the case, said that in general, the law doesn't require damages in cases where a foreign national engages in unlawful behavior in a country.
Sullivan's lawsuit, filed in May 2007, says her father and a second man "participated in various anti-Castro covert operations in Central America and Cuba" between 1960 until they disappeared around Oct. 1, 1963. The suit says those activities may have included sabotage and subversion. It cites evidence that Sullivan was imprisoned after being shot down during a covert mission in Cuba.


Updated : 2021-09-20 03:28 GMT+08:00