04/03/2012 Cuba (CSW) – Local officials in Moa, Cuba have told the family of a Cuban pastor who was violently attacked and left for dead in early February that they have no suspects in the case. Pastor Reutilio Columbie continues to suffer from dizziness, intense nausea and vomiting.
The 41 year-old pastor of the Shalom Christian Center, a Pentecostal church in Moa, Cuba, was attacked by unknown assailants in the early hours of the morning on 6 February and left unconscious on the street. The pastor was on his way to file a complaint with regional authorities regarding the arbitrary confiscation of the church vehicle by local officials in late 2011. The only thing taken from him was the document proving Columbie’s legal ownership of the vehicle.
Pastor Columbie told Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) last week that the attack has left him incapacitated, with memory and speech difficulties, near constant dizziness and nausea. As a result, he is unable to preach at his church and finds it impossible to travel outside of Moa. He has been advised to seek a consultation with a neurologist in Havana but is physically unable to make the 923km trip.
While Pastor Columbie reported that he had received a great deal of support from the community, he said the local authorities had remained intransigent on both the investigation into the attack and the confiscation of the church vehicle. He maintains that his purchase and ownership of the vehicle was legal and above board but is worried that with the disappearance of the key document this would now be virtually impossible to prove.
Local sources have expressed grave doubts about the impartiality of the investigation into the attack on Pastor Columbie, telling CSW that in order to conduct a credible investigation, the authorities would have to look beyond the civilian population to their own ranks.