Cuban vice president’s daughter living in Tampa
By JOSE PATINO GIRONA | The Tampa Tribune
Published: September 09, 2012
Her father is one of the most powerful men in Cuba, but a month ago, few people on or off the tropical island had heard of Glenda Murillo Diaz.
One defection later, Murillo Diaz is a hot topic of conversation in her homeland and in the homes of Cuban Americans.
Run a computer search of Glenda Murillo Diaz and dozens of links pop up telling the story of how the 24-year-old daughter of Cuba’s vice president was at a psychology conference in Mexico last month when she crossed the Texas border and defected to the United States.
She is now living with an aunt in Tampa.
Her aunt, Idania Diaz, told El Nuevo Herald her niece came to Tampa not for politics but for love; Murillo and her boyfriend plan to live in Tampa.
Cubans who reach U.S. soil usually can stay in America under the “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy.
Murillo Diaz’s father, 51-year-old Marino Murillo, is Cuba’s economic czar and a vice president. Murillo was handpicked by Cuban leader Raul Castro to help bring economic reform to the struggling communist country, and experts believe he might be the next in line to replace Castro as the country’s leader.
Murillo’s rising star, though, could fade because of his daughter’s defection.
“There is no doubt in my mind that it affects the transition of power,” said Ralph Fernandez, a prominent Tampa attorney often involved in Cuban American issues. He called the defection “a significant setback for Murillo.”
“It’s an intelligence breech within his own house,” Fernandez said. “She didn’t do this by herself. How could that person be trusted?”
A Castro family member can defect and it’s overlooked because the family makes the rules, Fernandez said. In 1964, Fidel Castro’s sister, Juanita Castro, defected to the United States, and in the 1990s, one of Fidel Castro’s daughters, Alina Fernandez Revuelta, fled Cuba.
But those rules don’t apply for others in the political hierarchy, Fernandez said.