Yoelvis Gattorno never expected the bad news he received in Cuba after his daughter Valeria was born in Miami.
His wife, Yarisleidy Cuba Rodríguez, died during childbirth March 2 at Jackson Memorial Hospital. She had arrived from Cuba in October and was in the process of applying for a U.S. visa for Gattorno.
Gattorno is still in Cuba, now fighting for custody of the baby after a judge in Miami granted temporary custody of the girl to Nairobi Pacheco, his wife’s cousin.
He’s complaining that when Pacheco won custody, he lost the right to be with his daughter. He said he will ask for a U.S. humanitarian visa so he can prove he is the baby’s father.
“She’s keeping me from having my daughter,” Gattorno said in a video call with Univision 23. He added that Pacheco has filed a malpractice suit against the hospital, to make money off his wife’s death.
“She must have filed the lawsuit saying that she was very affected by the loss of my wife. But those four pesos are not going to bring back my wife, and are only keeping me away from my daughter,” he said.
Jackson has told Gattorno that it cannot give him any information because his wife “never indicated who was the father or provided any name,” according to a document published by Univision 23.
The hospital added that it was obliged to accept Pacheco’s temporary custody of the baby because of the judge’s ruling.
Gattorno told the Pasa la Tarde radio program on Caracol 1260 that his name does not appear on any hospital document because it was cheaper for his wife to be admitted as a single mother.
Pacheco’s attorney, Darren J. Rousso, said in a statement published by Telemundo 51 that if it were not for his client, “the baby would have wound up in state custody rather than in the care of a relative who loves her.”
Rousso said the courts will decide the issue and that Pacheco’s lone concern is “whatever is most convenient for the baby girl.”
Gattorno said he’s willing to do whatever is required to be with his daughter.
His claims recall the case of Elián González, which sparked a dispute between Cuba and the United States to determine whether the boy’s father in Cuba or relatives in Miami should get custody.
Gonzalez, his mother and several other Cubans fled the island aboard a makeshift boat in 1999. His mother drowned, but the 5-year-old boy was rescued and turned over to relatives in Miami.
His father, in Cuba, won custody of the boy after a propaganda campaign by the Cuban government, headed by then-Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
Follow Catalina Ruiz Parra on Twitter: @catalinaruiz.