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Regina Cano: I have lived my entire life in Havana, Cuba – the island from which I’ve still never left, and which I love. I was born on September 9, and my parents chose my name out of superstition, but my mother raised me outside the religion professed by her family. I studied accounting and finance at the University of Havana, a profession that I’m not engaged in for the time being, and that I substituted for doing crafts, some ceramics, and studying a little English and about painting. Ah! – concerning my picture: I identify with Rastafarian principles, but I am not one of them. I wear this cap from time to time, but I assure you I just didn't have a better picture.

Havana Residents Protest Cruelty against Puppy

May 15, 2017 |

by Regina Cano

HAVANA TIMES — In response to the brutal video that has become viral, where two Cubans – in Manzanillo to the east of the country – set a puppy on fire which resulted in his death, signatures have been collected that will accompany a letter asking for measures and justice in response to such an inhumane act, which will be sent to President Raul Castro.

The call from the CEDA group (Cubans in Defense of Animals) gave an opportunity to many people wanting to express their outrage – using their civil right – in the wake of what happened in Manzanillo, and against similar or closely-related incidents which have been on the rise in different places throughout the country.  Complaints could be heard in the conversations that were had between those present, such as the recent crucification of cats in the Havana neighborhood of Santo Suarez.

A network of people who are animal lovers and against their mistreatment and abuse communicated their opinions in the face of this heartless event. The outraged groups and their members include those who provide accommodation, adoption services and even medicine to animals. People who advocate for coexistence founded on respect and they are against ethnocentrism. There are also activists who relocate animals as part of their daily work, improving their quality of life or saving them from death.

Signatures were collected in El Quijote Park, at Coppelia and places near the Vedado neighborhood in Havana, in the few hours that a group of volunteers from CEDA, PAC (City Animal Protection) and others, were present in the park.

A woman brought the signature and ID card number of her husband, who is temporarily on bed rest “he can’t come now…”, however unfortunately this kind of signature collection requires the presence of the signatory.

While hours passed, the number of forms filled out in this act of civic self-organization increased and by 2 p.m. there were already hundreds of signatures, when they began collecting at 9:30 a.m. that morning.

Cruelty as an acquired capacity is instilled in human beings from a very young age. In Cuba, it has become common to see more and more children committing violent and cruel acts to animals. It’s worth clarifying that these are more boys than girls. These are acts which the adults responsible for their education or witnesses to their lives look at complacently or even favorably, are sometimes done with the consent of or are incited by these adults themselves.

Cuba doesn’t have a legal framework which protects animals from people capable of abusing them. At the same time, this lack of sufficient laws regarding violence doesn’t protect people themselves (humans) from causing irreversible harm to other people. Cruelty, which is already an ability as well as a personal trait, can’t be removed so easily and can flourish in any everyday act, under any circumstance and/or against any human, no matter what the level of interaction or blood tie that they have with this person.

Talking about such situations often puts us into the removed position of somebody who thinks they can’t be touched by it, because one feels so far-removed.   How long have these kinds of events been feeding social chaos in Cuba, causing “bad civil behavior”, for over 20 years now? Will the decision makers look at this situation as of little importance? What do they need as proof of the risk that an unstoppable and common phenomenon can be, and not only with animals?

Ladies and gentlemen, the situation has been revealing extremely serious symptoms for a long time. People have an opinion which they defend when it comes to this issue but what about those in the legislature who should be enacting laws, what will you do?

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  • Carlyle MacDuff

    An excellent idea to send a letter with signatures (a petition) to President Raul Castro Ruz. I have recently on these pages, quoted his speech of July 7, 2013 in which he gave his analysis of the Cuban society that has developed under the Castro family regime. but he omitted cruelty to animals which as I have previously explained is in part a result of inheriting Spanish culture, for in Spain it is state approved.
    But in Cuba a country where human rights are denied, endeavoring to install animal rights will be difficult.
    If President Raul Castro Ruz cares about his society, the reputation of Cuba in the tourism sector and indeed in his own dubious reputation, he will take action – WAIT AND SEE!

  • emagicmtman

    Having worked in mental health, I can attest that what begins as cruelty to animals often escalates to cruelty to humans; occasionally this escalates to homicide. Such cruelty is usually learned from parents, siblings or peers. Not sure a retributive approach works, though. It probably just exacerbates the tendency in such folks to commit additional cruelty. Instead, an educational and therapeutic approach would produce more successful results. The particular case I am thinking of started with the parents–who should never have been parents–being extremely cruel to their child (e.g. cutting up a favorite teddy-bear, locking him out in the cold, etc); later, he started on animals. Sometimes there’s karmic justice, though. A childhood friend used to catch birds in the rafters of his family’s barn, then tie firecrackers to their legs, allow them to fly–and explode! In early adulthood he was driving a tractor which overturned, paralyzing him from the neck down for the rest of his life.

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      Thank you emagicmtman for your succinct analysis. You may have noticed that yesterday – 15th May, 2017 – the so-called ‘Moors Murderer’ in the UK one Ian Brady died in custody. The views you expressed almost exactly reflect the analysis of why Brady became such a monstrous killer of young children.
      When I suggested that perhaps the State Police and MININT did not intervene or prosecute, but perhaps were considering recruiting the perpetrators into their ranks, I was not being frivolous. It is MININT that operates Villa Mariska which has such expertise in extracting confessions and that requires people of the type you describe.
      Cruelty in all its awful forms does breed further cruelty and not merely an indifference to inflicting pain, but actual active enjoyment of its infliction.
      Below you will observe the view a Rich Haney that people other than Cubans ought not to express their views about the cruelty described in the article, because it occurred in Cuba.

      Are people to ignore the plight of children in Africa just because they don’t themselves live there? Where is humanity? Should I not have been permitted to sponsor a Muslim child in Mali for so many years? I wonder what Mr. Rich Haney has done for others or whether like President Trump, he just wishes to draw up the US draw bridges and live in capitalist isolation?

  • Carlyle MacDuff

    You Rich Haney are much better qualified to speak about zealots in the United States than I am, my experiences in visiting the US are somewhat limited. Do you deny that Raul Castro expressed the views which I provided? Alternatively, do you disagree with his view?
    As one whose home is in Cuba, I witness daily the mistreatment of animals and in particular of dogs. How I wish that the people of Cuba were able to express their opinions openly in free media and without fear of repercussions. But they have no opportunity for expression of personal views – no letters columns, no open free media – nada!
    You appear to be objecting to anybody other than Cubans resident in Cuba being allowed to express views about Cuba and about communist dictatorship. If so, then just recall that it was the previous dictator, Fidel Castro, who urged an initial nuclear strike upon the US – should US citizens or others who would have been involved in a Third World War (That was the analysis of Nikita Khruschev) not be allowed to express their view about that, just because they don’t live in Cuba.
    I remain disgusted and appalled by the public burning of a puppy without intervention and without it appears the intervention or subsequent prosecution by the State Police or MININT.
    You typically would just like anybody who criticizes the society which Raul Castro Ruz described following 54 years of his family’s dictatorship to keep quiet whilst others of your views ought to be free to give theirs. Arrogance!

  • Gracie Galway
  • Ken Hiebert

    This news item sheds light on how this issue is seen in Canada.
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/dog-car-wash-charges-1.4119502

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      Thank you Ken.