Fortune Awaits Sailor Being Held in Cuban Jail


By Luisa Yanez
The Miami Herald

Venezuelan merchant sailor Pedro Luis Avila has a whopping bank account. But he doesn’t know it.

Avila, recently awarded $650,000 by a Dade County jury, has been imprisoned in a Cuban jail for more than a year and has no idea he recently won such a big chunk of money from his former employer, according to his Miami attorney, Charles R. Lipcon.

Lipcon said he hasn’t yet been able to reach his client to tell him of the Feb. 20 verdict awarding him punitive and compensatory damages. The jury found that Avila had been denied prompt medical care while working as a crewman aboard the ship Andairon.

As the case inched its way to court, Lipcon heard from Avila’s wife, Ninfa, in Panama, that her husband had been arrested in Cuba in December 1984.

A small plane on which he was a passenger made an emergency landing there and Avila was arrested, Lipcon said. It’s not known what Avila’s destination was, what crime the father of two was charged with, or whether he has been sentenced, Lipcon said.