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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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