Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. -

08 de Diciembre de 1999

GOVERNMENT MOB ATTACKS PEACEFUL RESISTANCE FOLLOWERS, HOSPITALIZES ADULT, HITS CHILD. By Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia of the Christian Liberation Movement for Cuba Free Press.

Palma Soriano.- There was much surprise when 16 members of the Christian Liberation Movement (MCL, Movimiento Cristiano Liberacion) reached the courthouse for the trial of one of them, Luis Enrique Ferrer Garcia. They were shocked to see the area packed with people, indoors and outside. The crowd may have totaled as many as 150.

Luis Enrique, the writer's younger brother, was to be tried on charges of "disrespect" (desacato, in communist-slanted Spanish) of government officials. Members of this MCL group (which follows the passive aggression methods of Mahatma Ghandi) agreed that they must not let the government tactics intimidate them.

The defendant and his pacifist associates knew from experience that this gathering of people was a standard 'mobbing' procedure of the government's Office of State Security (OSS) and its Rapid Response Brigades. Such manipulated mobs provide a way, often successful, to try to demoralize defendants and their supporters. This method also may save the government from having to feed some dissident in jail.

When Luis Enrique was called before the court tribunal, he asked the presiding judge to allow members of his family - including his little niece, Marta Beatriz, two - and close friends to enter the courtroom. The judge said no, that she would not ask any people inside the court to leave.

The charges were then read and the chief judge asked Luis Enrique if he was going to pay the 30-pesos fine to be imposed. He said "no," that the charges were unfair, that he was the one who had suffered damages. He asked if he could explain the unjust circumstances that brought him before the court.

One of the tribunal judges said he was to be quiet, that they did not want to know his views but only whether he would pay a fine.

Luis Enrique repeated that he would not pay but only wanted to explain why he should never have been arrested in the first place. Again one judge told him to be quiet and the tribunal members retired to their office to consider his case.

Within minutes the tribunal returned and the presiding judge announced that Luis Enrique was guilty and would have to serve six months in prison in lieu of a fine...but that sentence would be reduced to six months of house arrest.

Luis Enrique thus was free to leave the court to join his family and friends - for the mob's punishment. At once a large group of people surrounded them and began shouting at them. It was their "moment of hate," ala George Orwell. The brigade members chanted, "Worms!" "Sell-out!" "What DO you want?" and other standard attack slogans typical of communist tactics.

Nearby beside an OSS automobile were members of the OSS in civilian clothes, monitoring the situation.

The writer, Luis Enrique's brother faced some of those surrounding them and said, "What we want is justice and for human rights to be respected in Cuba and that the people not be subjected to a dictatorship."

One man - apparently the brigade commander - stepped out of the crowd and put his face close to the writer's. The writer explained quietly that the brigade was subjecting the family (which included the two-year-old) to aggression and that the court had not even allowed the defendant to explain what had happened to him that led to the charge of "disrespect."

The man confronting the writer said there are occasions when one should not speak and this had been one such occasion.

The writer responded that this was an occasion where force was being used to keep people quiet.

The brigade mob then resumed shouting at the defendant's family; Luis Enrique calmly told them that what his people wanted was for the aggressors themselves, as part of the people, to be liberated from oppression and hunger and not be forced to survive on tilapia (a farmed fish) and fongo (a plantain formerly used for hog feed) and oppression.

Before he could finish, the brigade crowd became even more aggressive and began pushing and hitting members of the defendant's group. Some mob members were carrying tools and one swung a hammer at both Luis Enrique and Reinaldo Rodriquez Curtiada. The hammer wielder hit Luis Enrique strongly in the stomach and Reinaldo in the ribs.

The OSS agents up to that point did nothing to stop the attacks, leaving the inference among the victims that they were managing it as a standard operating procedure.

Then some in the crowd grabbed Amelia Garcia Vega, 56, mother of the Ferrer brothers, and her daughter, Ana Belkis Ferrer Garcia, 26, and threw both to the ground. One person grabbed Ana's hair and began pulling her. As some people prepared to hit the women on the ground, a few OSS agents quickly moved in and prevented that advanced stage of attack.

As followers of Ghandi, the Ferrer family and friends do not resist attacks but try to duck blows when possible. They maintain calm and even avoid using words that might offend attackers, which would typically bring charges of "disrespect."

Some parts of the mob, having been forced back somewhat by the OSS agents, began to throw stones and bottles at the victims while others rushed in to hit them with their fists. Among those hit in this way were the wife of the writer and their baby girl, who received a blow to the cheekbone.

At that point, Pavel Rosabal intervened to try to take the baby out of the crowd. It then concentrated its attacks on Rosabal. Someone else rescued the little girl. Rosabal, apparently knocked down headfirst, became unconscious and was taken to the hospital. He remains there in serious condition with total amnesia.

Also beaten was Leonel Grave de Peralta Almenares, who later was also charged with "disrespect" directed at an OSS agent and forced to pay a fine.

Meanwhile, a young woman, a passerby and not part of the brigade, began to shout at the crowd to stop picking on the women and child. One brigadier shouted back at her, "Are you one of the counterrevolutionaries? If you are, we'll beat you up too!" She immediately shut her mouth and marched away.

The next primary target for fists seemed to be the writer, who was forcibly isolated from the group. But at this moment, another car drove up and an agent told the writer to get into the car. Seconds before, that same agent had told the writer that he (the agent) was simply a member of the public who wanted to keep "the people from killing you."

The writer said he would not leave without seeing that his little daughter and others of his family and friends were unharmed. The agent agreed and said that if the writer would tell his people to calm down, he (the agent) would "ask the people" if they would stop the attacks. The scene immediately became calm and a young man brought the baby girl to her mother.

Among those forced into an automobile at this point was Mrs. Garcia Vega, the Ferrers' mother. She complained that this treatment was worse than during the Batista dictatorship of 42 years ago.

Luis Enrique was next brought out of the crowd; he had blood on his arms, his pullover torn and the swelling lump on his stomach from the hammer blow. The others of the Ferrer group were brought back together and saved from further damage. The mob action had lasted 40 minutes or longer before the OSS agent quickly and easily stopped them.

Later, when the group reached the hospital for emergency attention, they also learned that children from the Palmarito elementary school had been mobilized in front of the homes of two of the pacifists (Leonel Grave de Peralta and Reinaldo Rodriguez Urquiada) to shout in unison, "Down with the counterrevolutionaries! Down with the worms!" Some of the adults in charge of the children were adding their shouts, using obscene phrases.

As of time of writing, the writer feels fairly well, since the beating was not disabling. Reinaldo and Luis Enrique were the ones most damaged by the beating. Pavel remains with amnesia and cerebral damage. Luis Enrique continues with the lump on his stomach.

The damage to Reinaldo was considerable in view of his having been attacked by a powerful brigadier of great strength and training in martial arts. Sometimes such brigadiers have caused so much damage to people, even killing some, that they have been suspended from mob action for a time. The emergency physician noted that Reinaldo still had the marks of one man's fingers on his neck. The brigadier had thrown Reinaldo to the ground so as to get a better grip on his neck and possibly strangle him.

This had been a tremendous government-mob action that the victims agree had two objectives: First, to keep friends and sympathizers of the defendant away from the court where they might verbally have shown their support for him. Second, to easily punish people who would not resist, being pacifists.

Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia of the Christian Liberation Movement for Cuba Free Press.

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