Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Aunt says the daughter of Cuba’s vice president defected for love

Posted on Tuesday, 08.28.12

Aunt says the daughter of Cuba's vice president defected for love

The daughter of Cuba's vice president defected because she has a
boyfriend in Florida, her family said.
By Juan O. Tamayo

The tale of the Cuban vice president's daughter who defected may turn
out to be a love story after all. Glenda Murillo went to Tampa to be
with her boyfriend and not for political reasons, her aunt declared Tuesday.

Murillo has a boyfriend in Tampa and left Cuba "for personal and not
political reasons," the aunt, Idania Diaz, told El Nuevo Herald in a
polite but brief phone conversation from her home in Tampa.

What's more, Murillo is not married, the aunt added, regardless of what
El Nuevo was told by the mystery man who answered her cell phone in
Havana and claimed to be her husband.

Murillo's defection, first reported by El Nuevo Herald on Monday, drew
intense news interest because her father is vice president of Cuba's
ruling Council of State and member of the powerful political bureau of
the island's Communist Party.

The father, Marino Murillo, 51, an economist trained in Cuba's National
Defense University, is in charge of enacting Cuban ruler Raúl Castro's
ambitious economic reforms and has been mentioned as a possible successor.

Glenda Murillo did not have a U.S. visa and slipped into Texas from
Mexico, where she had been attending a psychology seminar, around Aug.
16, according to knowledgeable sources. She was paroled under the
wet-foot, dry-foot policy, which allows Cubans who set foot on U.S. land
to stay.

The State Department said Tuesday that privacy regulations bar it from
providing information on specific cases of visa, asylum or parole
requests. It referred all questions on the Murillo defection to the U.S.
Department of Homeland Security.

Idania Diaz told El Nuevo Herald in a phone conversation that her niece
left Cuba and was living with her in Tampa to be with her boyfriend,
whom she declined to identify.

But it was clear that Diaz spoke with the newspaper primarily to ask
about the mystery man who identified himself as Murillo's husband when
the newspaper called her cell number in Havana last week to inquire
about her case. The man confirmed she was in Tampa, said she would not
make any comment and declined to give his name.

Diaz, who told El Nuevo that Murillo was next to her during the phone
chat, confirmed the cell number called by the newspaper belonged to
Murillo and added that her niece had arranged to sell the phone before
she left to a man she did not know.

"We don't know who that might have been, the man who answered," Diaz added.

Diaz also noted that Murillo was happy to be in Tampa, but hung up
quickly when she was asked about a report that Marino Murillo cried when
he learned that his daughter had defected and was in Tampa.

Her husband, Boris Loynaz, also told a Univision 23 television news crew
outside the couple's home in Tampa that Murillo was happy to be in the
United States and declined comment on the report that the father had
broken down in tears.

Diaz also noted that her elderly father, Rolando Diaz, who is visiting
her from Havana, had overcome the shock he suffered when he answered the
doorbell Tuesday morning and found the Univision 23 crew asking
questions about Murillo.

He told the crew he was afraid that he was going to have a heart attack.

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