The courts as moral theatre and engine of personal closure

What purpose is there in winning a dollar amount in a lawsuit against a sovereign foreign government with which we have no relations? Why are we watching someone act out an Oprah-style moment of public grief resolution in the federal courts? Cui bono? I’m confused

Miami Woman Wins $86M in Bay of Pigs Suit
Friday November 19, 2004 1:16 AM
By LISA ORKIN EMMANUEL, Associated Press Writer

MIAMI (AP) – A judge awarded more than $86 million Thursday to a woman who sued the Cuban government over her father’s execution following the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion.

Janet Weininger filed the lawsuit under a federal anti-terrorism law that allows families of victims of state-sponsored terrorism to seek damages in American courts.

Weininger initially sought $112 million in damages from the communist government. As in similar lawsuits involving families of American Bay of Pigs victims, the Cuban government offered no defense and was not represented in court.

Damages have been awarded in similar cases, but the potential for recovery is limited.

“The collection efforts will be a separate battle,’’ said Leon Patricios, one of Weininger’s lawyers.

Weininger’s father, Alabama National Guard pilot Thomas “Pete’’ Ray, trained six dozen pilots for the CIA-sponsored invasion in April 1961 that sought to overthrow Cuban President Fidel Castro’s government.

Ray’s B-26 was shot down less than 48 hours after the first landing, but his fate remained a mystery until his body was released by the Cuban government in 1979.

Six years later, two Cubans told Weininger that her father had been executed in a sugar mill and Castro allegedly kept the body on display as proof of U.S. involvement in the aborted invasion.

During testimony, Weininger said she wrote more than 200 letters and telegrams to Castro over the years to get answers about her father.

“You don’t get an answer back, and you know this person has the keys to your life,’’ Weininger said.

More than 1,000 invaders – most of whom were Cuban exiles – were captured following the failed three-day invasion. About 100 were killed.

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