On Monday, February 6th, Pastor Reubilio Columbie, president of the Cuban Pentecostal “Shalom” Christian Center Church was violently beaten by thugs. The violence occurred on Cabana Street, in Moa, Holguin at around 3 in the morning and it was so brutal that his aggressors left him for dead. Luckily, a citizen who was passing by minutes after the assault noticed that Columbie was on the floor, fighting for his life. Thanks to the solidarity of this citizen, the Pastor was urgently rushed to the Provincial Hospital of Holguin, known as “Vladimir Lenin”.
Although no third person has testified to publicly witnessing the moment of the aggression, there is more than enough evidence signaling that the culprits were agents of the communist regime. The struggles which led Pastor Columbie to this point began two months ago in December of 2011 when the Cuban political police confiscated his truck which he had purchased 5 years ago. When Columbie bought the vehicle, he made some changes to it, installing numerous seats in order to drive his churchgoers to and from mass. The Cuban authorities did not give Columbie a reason as to why they were taking away his car. Police officials simply and forcefully took it from him.
However, the independent journalist and Lady in White Caridad Caballero Batista points out that the Pastor had purchased the vehicle from “a lady whose nephew works as the logistic person of the Central Committee in Havana“, and explains that it is precisely because of these links that they began to locate and harass Columbie.
From the moment they took his truck away, Columbie has turned to countless municipal and provincial institutions, presenting his demands and claims so that his vehicle be returned, but it has failed every time. On the morning in which he was brutalized, “he was carrying a folder with various documents, including a sheet with information on the truck which he was going to turn into a few institutions of Holguin (where he was headed), in addition to his cell phone and money“. When he was found lying bloody on the floor, the only thing missing in his folder were the vehicle documents.
“It has already been a bit over a month“, explains Caballero Batista, “that Columbie started receiving threats via the telephone while he went to different government places to demand his car be returned. They were threatening him with beatings and even with death“, and it even reached the point that “they began to threaten his family also“, affirmed the activist. The authorities of the country have also kept silent in regards to the aggressions against the Pastor.
Pastor Columbie is still in critical condition in the provincial hospital of Holguin. He is 45 years old and has two children. Loyal churchgoers refer to him simply as “Tilin”.
This is yet another of the countless violations committed daily by the Cuban dictatorship against innocent citizens, whether it be for political motives or not.