Little Valeria Will Live With Her Father in Cuba or in the US

Nairobis Pacheco with baby Valeria, the daughter of her cousin Yarisleidy Cuba Rodríguez, who died in Miami. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 2 May 2018 — Yoelvis Gattorno will be able to return to Cuba with his daughter Valeria as soon as she is discharged from Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital, after a judge from the Florida court granted him custody of the child on Tuesday, on verifying his paternity. However, it is possible that the case will end differently.

A source close to the case told 14ymedio that the father plans to stay in the United States and to take advantage of the Cuban Adjustment Act.

Valeria was born prematurely last March in a delivery with complications, during which her mother, Yarisleidy Cuba Rodríguez, died. Since then, the family has been disputing who will have custody of the child.

Nairobis Pacheco, cousin of Valeria’s mother, said she had requested temporary custody, which she had received until Tuesday, to prevent the child from being taken to a shelter. “I have never wanted to take her away from her father, but rather to honor the memory of my first cousin who left me in charge before dying,” she explained in an interview with 14ymedio.

Pacheco affirmed she had remained in contact with Gattorno and sent him photos of Valeria, did not hide her preference for the girl to remain in Miami. “My biggest concern is that the girl’s father wants to take her to Cuba. My cousin always wanted to live in the United States, that’s why she emigrated, she was looking for the best for her daughters. I don’t think it’s best for the girl to live in that country [Cuba],” she said on that occasion.

The judge ruled that Gattorno, who is already in the United States on a humanitarian visa and has been able to see his daughter in the hospital, will be allowed to take the girl to Santa Clara, Cuba, where he lives, once she has fully recovered from the aftermath of her premature birth. In the event that he decides to stay in the US, according to 14ymedio’s source, Valeria’s father plans to live near Miami or further north, in Atlanta.

Cubans who legally enter the United States can benefit from the Cuban Adjustment Act (1966) that grants permanent residence (a green card), if they can prove that they have lived in the country for a year.

The judge also ruled that Valeria’s 15-year-old sister, who lives in Miami-Dade County and is not the biological daughter of Gattorno, can visit the baby.


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