Cuban Vice President’s daughter defects to the United States

Marino Murillo (left) with Raúl CastroBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | |
The daughter of one of Cuba’s most senior government officials secretly defected to the United States earlier this month and is now living in Tampa, Florida, according to a Spanish-language newspaper. The paper, El Nuevo Herald, published in Florida, said Glenda Murillo Diaz, 24, daughter of Cuban Vice President Marino Murillo Jorge, defected on August 16, 2012. Diaz, a psychology student at the University of Havana, had apparently left Cuba earlier this month to attend an international psychology conference in Mexico. But instead of appearing at the conference, she crossed from Mexico into the US at Laredo, Texas. Her father, Marino Murillo, a prominent Cuban economist, is currently Vice President of Cuba’s State Council and longtime member of the Cuban Communist Party’s Political Bureau. In 2009, soon succeeding his brother Fidel to the post of Cuba’s President, Raúl Castro appointed Murillo Minister of Planning and Economy. Upon assuming this post, Murillo became the leading figure in the implementation of the administration’s ambitious economic reform, which is aimed at revitalizing the island’s finances. Since then, Murillo is often mentioned as one of a number of possible successors to Raúl Castro. He has made headlines recently, after voicing criticism of economic reforms taking place in China and Vietnam, and claiming that Cuba’s economic reforms aim at the establishment of a hybrid planned and market economy, but that “the planned economy will remain dominant”. The cause of Diaz’s is not clear. But El Nuevo Herald, whose editorial line routinely expresses the anti-Castro views of Miami’s exile Cuban community, notes that Diaz’s defection represents “a vote of no confidence in the economic reforms [Raúl] Castro has ordered, and that her father has a mandate to implement”. According to US legislation, enacted at the height of the Cold War, citizens of Cuba are allowed to remain in the US as long as they manage to set foot on US soil. By contrast, Cuban defectors intercepted by US Coast Guard patrol boats at sea are summarily returned to Cuba.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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