HAVANA TIMES – It’s a well-known fact that serial killers start out by experimenting their barbaric acts on animals, domestic animals a lot of the time.
Astonishingly, the danger of this psychological profile hasn’t been argument enough for zoosadism to be criminalized in our country.
Decisive proof of this has been people’s silence when collecting signatures in protest of the puppy burned alive in Manzanillo in May 2017, and now the release of dog rapist and torturer Ruben Marrero Pernas, who uploaded videos and photos onto an underground network of zoophiles, Beast Forum.
A group of animal defenders met in the Monterrey neighborhood in San Miguel de Padron on Saturday January 19th. This is the park and WIFI hotspot where this sadistic character normally sits to connect up to the Internet, walking scot free. With a shortage of official reports, it isn’t known whether his trial is still pending and, more importantly, whether he continues to perpetrate these crimes.
The call for this gathering of animal defenders came from the ATAC (Supporting and Moving Stray Animals) project, mostly made up of young people who provide parasite treatment for stray dogs or dogs brought by their owners. The objective? Make it clear that there are people in Cuba who are outraged by these events.
The creatures that he abused continue to be in the same helpless state. There isn’t a single law in their favor, and animal rape or abuse isn’t a particularly scandalous issue in Cuban society.
It’s “normal” in rural communities for men to rape young goats, pigs, chickens. It’s a kind of open secret, a salacious and consensual bit of mischief. Animals rely on human beings to defend their rights. That’s why Jeannette Ryder, a foreign philanthropist who defended the defenseless on this island, used to say: “We speak for those who don’t have a voice of their own.”
Widespread practice of the Yoruba religion, under the pretext of bringing “health and prosperity” (!!) has legitimized animal sacrifices of pigeons, fowl, young goats, rams… without the slightest bit of concern for their suffering. Their mutilated bodies are put on display in our streets, parks, beaches, in the plain sight of children, as archetypes of barbarism.
This is why the reaction of Ruben Marrero’s neighbors doesn’t come as a surprise, who have a mostly passive, indifferent or complicit attitude. One of them remarked: “They really went after him. I thought it was for something else.”
That is to say, raping and torturing dogs isn’t a serious matter. In short, according to somebody else, “he’s been doing this” (sadistic acts with animals) “ever since he was a child.” Somebody claimed that the criminal’s mother is sick and, ashamed of her son’s acts, avoids going outside.
The Monterrey neighborhood is full of houses surrounded by gardens, with dogs inside nearly every fence, yet its inhabitants prefer to ignore the murderer. Somebody said that they had seen him pass by recently, “heading towards the hill, with a yellow-colored dog.”
“Poor animal,” everyone in the group said.
The hill is a green space where a dirty river runs, and we saw the swollen corpse of a dog with its paws tied together. Who was responsible? Standing in front of this polluted landscape, full of a build-up of waste and humans’ sordid indifference, you feel like anyone could be responsible.
However, the parasite treatment campaign did raise eyebrows. First, a policeman came along and then a government representative. Both of them made it clear that these kinds of actions couldn’t be repeated without an official license. Posters against animal abuse, put up on trees and the backs of benches, mysteriously disappeared.
According to the policeman, somebody had phoned to report the presence of a group of activists. The contrast in this swift response after finding out about this charitable activity and its censorship was really telling, yet, how many animals have had to suffer and die at Ruben Marrero’s hands before this case came to light? By the way, official media hasn’t covered this news.
Sitting on a bench and watching everything, two men nobody knew, who weren’t using the Wi-Fi internet either, reminded us that protesting, even if it were to protest the impunity of a murderer, could work against us.
It doesn’t matter if the people protesting are citizens doing the right thing. It doesn’t matter whether the protest is trying to keep the majority safe.
Once again, reality has proven that power here in Cuba doesn’t work in favor of justice. It only works in the favor of those who defend this power, or don’t question it. Every protest can be politicized and distorted.
The group of animal defenders is made up of groups which have been created in response to the uncontrolled births of dogs and cats, to their visible agony; to the shame that this implies for a society that claims to be civilized; to the awful image we give tourists.
We work out of love and with hardly any resources. We need to become established, not allow ourselves to be intimidated, confused or divided.
We urgently need to defend not only animal rights, but the right of every Cuban to improve our surroundings, for compassion to be validated as an example for future generations, for the rape, torture and mutilation of a living being to be criminalized.
We can’t make any moral headway if we ignore something as basic as this.