Pope asked to intercede in Morgan's repatriation
Widow wants his remains in Toledo
Published: Wednesday, 2/25/2015
BY TAHREE LANE
BLADE STAFF WRITER
The widow of William Morgan, a Toledoan executed in 1961 Cuba for
treason against Fidel Castro, is hopeful that a letter to Pope Francis
will help bring her husband's remains home.
"I think this is the right moment, my heart tells me that," said Olga
Goodwin, who lives in West Toledo. "I have not heard anything, but my
heart says that."
Mrs. Goodwin is banking on a thaw in diplomatic relations with Cuba
initiated in December by President Obama to help the effort, which has
been aided by U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo).
Before he left for Italy, Opie Rollison, a Toledo attorney who has
voluntarily taken up her cause, gave Mrs. Goodwin a copy of the letter
he wrote to the Pope, asking for intercession. The return of Mr.
Morgan's remains, it said, "would be one more step in the resolution of
humanitarian issues between Cuba and the United States."
Like Mrs. Goodwin, Mr. Rollison said he's hopeful. "I continue to work
with federal officials at all levels," he said.
In a Saturday article in the Miami Herald he was quoted as saying, "I
will say that I'm more optimistic now than I've ever been that we're
going to get this done."
He also said, "From congresspersons to senators to people in the
Treasury and State Departments, our efforts have gotten a friendly
hearing and those efforts are still going on."
He added that "within the confines of existing laws, there is a
mechanism that would allow the repatriation of William Morgan's remains."
In 2002, Miss Kaptur went to Cuba and met with Castro to request the
return of the Toledoan's remains. Miss Kaptur's staffers say her office
was aware that Mr. Rollison carried a letter to the Pope's office, and
they continue to support the effort.
Mrs. Goodwin, 78, was an idealistic college student in Cuba in the 1950s
when she discreetly boarded a bus to join rebel fighters in the
mountains. Their shared goal was to overthrow Cuban dictator Fulgencio
She soon met the tall, blond William Morgan, who spoke little Spanish.
He'd had a restless youth of petty crime, was kicked out of the Army,
worked as a Miami gunrunner, and in 1957, left his wife and two children
in Toledo for Florida. He admired the passion he'd seen in young Cubans
who were ready to fight to the death for their homeland. Talking his way
onto a boat, he joined them.
After Batista was overthrown, Mr. Morgan watched as Castro and
companions built a Communist system that left the pro-democracy rebels
he had fought with little better than before. Mr. Morgan stockpiled
munitions and planned a revolt, but was captured and executed by a
Mrs. Goodwin, whom he'd married and had two daughters with, was thrown
in prison for more than a decade. She eventually fled on a boat and
settled in Toledo. She befriended Loretta Morgan, her mother-in-law, got
a job, and married James Goodwin, with whom she lives.
A book about Mr. Morgan, The Yankee Comandante: The Untold Story of
Courage, Passion, and One American's Fight to Liberate Cuba, was
published in January. Mrs. Goodwin is pictured with Mr. Morgan on the
cover, and features prominently in the dramatic tale, written by former
Blade reporters and Pulitzer Prize winners Michael Sallah and Mitch Weiss.
Contact Tahree Lane at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Pope asked to intercede in Morgan's repatriation - Toledo Blade