HAVANA TIMES – As you’ve probably heard, a zoosadism case has gone viral on social media. I found out from a post published in the Cuba against Animal Abuse group, which was created to report degrading acts that humans carry out on animals. I recommend you sign up to this group to keep up-to-date with what is going on in our country in this respect.
It turns out that Ruben Marrero Pernas, a former employee at the Cuban Neuroscience Center, was torturing, raping and killing dogs. And not only that, he was also filming or taking photos of his sadistic acts and then sharing them on an underground network of zoophiles called “Beast Forum”. He took on a number of aliases: Woof, Warg, Schwarz, Wolfss, Ulfr and Schwarzweiler.
According to the post, “given the magnitude of Marrero’s exposure and ostentation, some members on the zoo sadism network began to leak information onto other sites.” Many people were struck by the unpleasant content of his publications and took it upon themselves to track him down.
A group of 50 activists from all over the world worked for a month until they were able to identify and compile evidence against him. The post explains that “the available material was passed on to the competent authorities in Cuba over a month ago BUT this individual continues to walk free on Havana’s streets.” Publishing this news would help everyone to recognize him and prevent any more animal suffering.
This 29-year-old man had adopted a puppy from the CEDA group not too long ago, which he then tortured and killed. PAC also revealed in its post that this individual had attended dog training and behavioral workshops that the group offered. He is a dangerous guy who comes across calm, kind and then is capable of doing barbaric things to the beings he wants to save.
A year or so ago, some young men burned a puppy alive in Manzanillo and they recorded themselves laughing, enjoying the moment when the small animal was engulfed in flames. Animal protection organizations immediately took to the streets and collected signatures so that they wouldn’t go unpunished. Letters were sent to various state bodies and institutions, etc. The pyromaniacs were even arrested, but they didn’t receive the punishment they deserved. What else could you expect if there isn’t a law that condemns animal cruelty here in Cuba?
It has been a while since then and this new case only confirms that we need to continue demanding this animal protection act.
Ruben Marrero Pernas has been arrested now, and his dogs (a male German shepherd and a female rottweiler (which he used to rape) have been “seized”. CEDA will be responsible for overseeing and making sure they receive veterinary care and will look after them until they are fit to be given up for adoption, although they will be monitored for a long time. According to comments published on pages that have spoken about this subject, they took these dogs to Zoonosis (that picks up stray dogs) first. I imagine that they must have had to move pretty quickly as they would have been condemned to die after being administered strychnine if nobody rescued them after 72 hours.
All of this makes me think about several things. One, just how important the internet is. Even with the precarious internet connections we have here in Cuba, it is still a source of information and a mechanism for social mobilization. It’s understood that the government is afraid of it.
Regardless of the flaws we humans give it, the internet is another way we can alert others about abuse, kidnapping, injustice, abuse, and raise awareness about these complaints, upholding collaborative efforts between Cubans both on and off the island. Ultimately, it prepares us for when we can organize ourselves and come together in “real life”.
The other thing that grabs my attention is the value of focussing on a common objective. Animal protection organizations deserve all of our respect. They are able to organize themselves and call on activists, rescue teams and protectors to come together. To make a concrete statement about the subject and mutually support each other, without even meaning to sometimes. There isn’t only one organization, there are many and there are also independent animal protectors who aren’t affiliated to any organization as such, but work on their own.
There isn’t a single line of thought, on the contrary; the important thing here is that they come together for the same cause: to protect animals. So, when we see a result like this, it isn’t a magical act, it is the result of hard work and combining forces, energy, dedication and love for a single objective. It’s amazing how people react and act. It gives us hope in the human race, there’s no doubt about that.
It’s a shame that some people tarnish this by inciting violence, wanting death or misinterpreting words, of course, you’ll say that everyone is free to say whatever they want…
And lastly, this case has allowed us to verify the gap that exists between official media and everyday life. The Cuban Neuroscience Center immediately announced on its Facebook page that Ruben Marrero Pernas “is no longer an employee at the Scientific Center, he was removed from there once his illicit and disgusting acts were made known and confirmed.” And it explained that “This appalling behavior is incompatible with this center. The competent bodies have been informed so that further actions can be taken.”
However, up until now, no official media platform has published the news. It seems absolutely ridiculous that a country that says it wants to be just, supportive etc., but keeps its citizens removed from cases like this one.
Personally-speaking, this whole thing has really disturbed me. I want this individual to pay for what he did, and I think: What charges did they arrest him with? What punishment is waiting for him? Is he crazy or does he just have no shame? Many people would like answers to these questions.
If there isn’t a law in Cuba that condemns abusers, he won’t be tried as such. So, it all becomes very confusing: Will they condemn him for creating and sharing pornography? How much time will he have to serve for this? Is it enough? And what about the living beings he tortured and murdered?
If it doesn’t appear in the law, can harming animals become an aggravating circumstance? A friend told me that the other option would be the Dangerousness Law, in which a person is tried for a crime that they haven’t yet committed but is likely to commit. Many people who think differently to the Party’s politics have languished in prison because of this law and I don’t believe it’s fair. If Marrero Pernas is taken to court for dangerousness, would this law now be used properly? Would it be ethical for me to accept that the State is using a law that I believe should be repealed?
There are many concerns, maybe someone can come up with another solution that I haven’t already thought of. However, everything is pointing at the fact that the State must adopt a stronger stance that regulates these harmful acts against animals, so that whoever causes them harm, whoever they may be, can be legally charged and justice served. It’s up to us to continue to demand an animal protection act from the State.