Rodolfo Dávalos Fernández y su hija, Lourdes Dávalos

Dávalos family, the legal shield of the dictatorship in London

Havana Cuba. — The trial against the Cuban regime began yesterday in London, has been accompanied by massive protests and abundant media visibility. Castroism has come out to litigate with all its weapons because it knows that, if it loses, the possibility of a less accommodating embargo than the one maintained by the United States could complicate things enormously. To avoid the worst possible scenario, he has turned to his strong legal people.

Rodolfo and Lourdes Dávalos have been seen leaving the Court. His last name is familiar to Cubans, but even so they are far from knowing who the Dávalos are and what role they have played in the empowerment and permanence of the oldest dictatorship in the West.

As explained in the article Dávalos family: devil’s advocates?published in CubaNet, more than a surname, Dávalos is an obligatory reference brand for politicians and foreign investors interested in Cuba. He has also been a key player in all international litigation where the Cuban government has taken part, be it as plaintiff or defendant; but above all in those processes where he has been implicated for breaches of contracts, confiscations, accumulated debts, deception of businessmen, blackmail, espionage, etc.

Rodolfo Dávalos Fernández advised the first major foreign investment made in Cuba at the end of the 1990s by the Spanish group Sol-Meliá, and participated in the creation of companies offshore in Panama and Europe. His name, associated with the Mossack Fonseca law firm, was one of the first to surface when the Panama Papers scandal broke out, and he also appears in Panamanian business records as company secretary that, in turn, links him to the Italian Mauro Casagrandi, who worked as an agent of the Cuban secret services until his break with the regime in the early 1990s.

Dávalos Fernández was part of the group of lawyers that defended the case of the five Cuban agents of the Wasp Network convicted of espionage in the United States. Likewise, he was a protagonist in the litigation against the Chilean Max Marambio —a former agent of the regime— and his company Río Zaza, and in the case of the child Elián González.

His son, Rodolfo Dávalos León, is an avowed worshiper of the American way of life. In 2016 he founded the company Caribbean Ventures Management LLC, incorporated in the state of Delaware, but has its office in Coral Gables, Miami. This “small” business arose in the heat of the thaw promoted by the Obama administration and focused on search operations and management of gastronomy services in Cuba.

Dávalos Jr. is very well connected with the highest level of Castro power and also with the US Democrats, as shown by his photos with the late General Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Calleja —former owner of GAESA—, the ruler Miguel Díaz-Canel, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Ben Rhodes —Obama-era Deputy National Security Adviser— and Senator Patrick Leahy.

For her part, Lourdes Dávalos, Rodolfo’s daughter, is an associate at the Uría Menéndez law firm, one of the largest in Europe, specializing in Commercial Law. Thanks to her influential father, the young woman, she barely graduated, she was admitted to that important firm, from which she has served the interests of the dictatorship and family members.

According to the article More about the Dávalos family: ‘Dad paved the way for him’, also published in CubaNet, Lourdes Dávalos did not even do social service in Cuba after finishing law school. Her title was revalidated in Europe and in a hurry, since the young woman had to take charge of bank accounts, contracts and important operations handled by her father; matters that required the utmost discretion.

In 2009 Lourdes graduated with a Master’s Degree in International Business Law from the Complutense University of Madrid, managed to enroll in the Bar Association of the Spanish capital and become a member of the Spanish Arbitration Club.

In 2011, with only four years of graduation and as part of the Uría Menéndez firm, Lourdes Dávalos took charge of the Cuba Archive and became the leading expert on legal issues of the Mariel Special Development Zone and other investments. On these issues, the young woman has published several articles in specialized magazines, emphasizing the advantages and ways of investing on the Island.

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