U.S. woman sues Castro for father’s death following covert mission
The Associated Press
An American woman has sued Cuban leader Fidel Castro, alleging he caused the wrongful death of her pilot father after he was shot down over Cuba and imprisoned in 1963 while on a covert mission.
Sherry Sullivan filed her lawsuit in May in Waldo County Superior Court, but the judge delayed action until last week while considering how to serve papers to the defendants, who also include Castro’s brother Raul, the Cuban army and the Republic of Cuba.
The judge decided to send a certified Spanish translation of the suit to Cuba by registered mail, but has yet to receive proof of its delivery to the parties named.
The lawsuit alleges that Geoffrey Francis Sullivan, who was 29 at the time, was captured after being shot down and that he died while being held in a Cuban jail for political prisoners. His daughter contends that Fidel Castro had “intentionally, unlawfully and with complete disregard for human life” caused Sullivan’s imprisonment and eventual death.
No formal record of the death was ever recorded. The Social Security Administration has declared that Sullivan is dead, and the Department of Veterans Affairs has listed him as missing in action.
“I don’t have any actual proof that my father was executed, but I believe he was,” Sullivan told the Bangor Daily News.
The lawsuit says Geoffrey Sullivan and New York newspaperman Alexander Irwin Rorke Jr., who was believed to be a CIA operative, took part in numerous anti-Castro operations in the three years leading up to their disappearance.
The last known sighting of the pair was when they took off from Mexico on Oct. 1, 1963, in a twin-engine Beechcraft. A month earlier, Sullivan and Rorke allegedly had taken part in a bombing run over Cuba, an act that received widespread news coverage and identified both men as being involved.
Sullivan, 52, said she has devoted her life to “uncovering the truth” about her father, but was stymied in her repeated attempts to gather information from government agencies. She has more than 100,000 pages of documents related to the case, she said.
Her suit states that she “has credible information from a variety of independent, identified, sources that her father was captured and held by Fidel Castro and the government of Cuba” in violation of international law.
The suit says Castro and his co-defendants are liable under a 1996 U.S. law that allows victims of states identified as sponsors of terrorism to sue for damages.
In recent years, Castro’s regime has been repeatedly sued in American courts. The damages are generally to be paid from Cuban assets frozen by the Kennedy administration.