castro’s legacy

Here’s another benefit castro has bestowed on the Cuban people, this, directly from the tyrant’s la Revoluci?n, multiplied by millions.

From the St. Petersburg Times
Cuban torture victim sues estate for $10M
The woman also names Fidel Castro, his brother and Cuba in the suit against the nurse who she says tortured her in Havana.

ALEXANDRA ZAYAS
Published November 16, 2005

TAMPA – The torture happened decades ago in Cuba, but Belkis Ferro says she still feels the anguish.

She still sees the face of the man she calls the devil, who she says tortured her in a psychiatric hospital for political prisoners in Havana.

Now, even though Eriberto Mederos is dead and Ferro lives in Tampa, she’s taking his estate to court for $10-million. She and her attorney, Edgar J. Guzman, filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Mederos and some high-profile co-defendants, including Fidel Castro and Cuba.

In Spanish, she recalled her first act against Castro’s government. She was 7, and she was handed a red scarf to wear as part of the “pioneer” uniform that kids wore to support the revolution. Her father had been affiliated with Fulgencio Batista’s government before the 1959 overthrow, and her grandmother had warned her never to wear the uniform.

She took off the scarf and stomped on it. To punish her, teachers made her kneel on rocks until she bled.

“Since then, I grew in hatred toward Castro’s government, because they isolated me from the other children,” Ferro said.

She witnessed families removed from their homes and firing squads executing people who spoke out against Castro’s dictatorship. Her family was persecuted because it didn’t support Castro.

One day when she was 16, she said, she got into a confrontation with neighbors who were calling her grandmother names.

“I got furious. I told them horrendous things,” she said.

She was jailed, then taken to a farm to plant tobacco. One hot day, Ferro said, she began uprooting tobacco plants, tearing them to shreds. They dragged Ferro away, she said, locked her in a truck and drove off.

“When they opened the door and I saw what it was, I was horrified,” she said of the military psychiatric hospital in Havana known as Mazorra. “There wasn’t a Cuban in Cuba who wasn’t terrified of that hospital.”

It was there that she met Mederos.

Details of the hospital are contained in the lawsuit: The floors and rooms were stained with human fecal matter, and the stench was nauseating. Ferro compared the emaciated patients to women she’d seen in Holocaust films.

“I’d hear women scream every morning,” Ferro said.

One day, she learned why.

She was taken to a room with 10 to 12 iron beds, where patients – fellow political prisoners – were strapped down by their hands and feet, foaming and bleeding from the mouth, she said.

“I tried to get away,” she said. “I bit them. I kicked them.”

The last thing she remembered from that day was the two electrodes moving toward her temples. She said she awoke with no memory of the experience, but the bed was soiled, her tooth was chipped, and she had electrode burns on her skin.

The next form of torture was worse than the electroshock, Ferro said. She was injected with insulin three times a day, even though she was not diabetic. She drifted in and out of consciousness and was forced to drink 10 to 12 glasses of sugar water at a time.

This happened about three times a week over a span of several months, the lawsuit alleges. It alleges that the torture tactics were administered under Mederos’ supervision.

Ferro was eventually transferred out of the hospital and back to jail, where she remained until the Mariel Boatlift in 1980, when she left Cuba and moved to Arkansas and later to Tampa.

In the subsequent years, Ferro said, she was psychologically and physically “disabled” by the torture and unable to work. The lawsuit lists distress, anxiety, fear, apprehension, disease and the loss of bodily function as symptoms.

Five years ago, when she was watching the news, she saw Mederos again – on television, in the United States. He’d moved to the United States in 1980 and become a citizen in 1993, concealing his role in Mazorra.

But when a torture victim, who also moved to the United States, ran into Mederos while visiting an aunt in a Hialeah nursing home – where Mederos was a nurse – his cover was blown.

Congress members called for the revocation of his citizenship, and a jury – after hearing from Ferro and others – found him guilty in August 2002 of misrepresenting and concealing facts on his citizenship application.

On Aug. 23, 2002, the day a hearing was to determine when Mederos, 79, would report to prison, he died of prostate cancer.

It took three more years for Ferro to file a civil suit because she was still scared of Cuba’s reach in the United States. But after Nilo Jerez, another torture victim living in Miami, filed a similar suit earlier this year seeking $50-million from Cuba, Ferro followed his lead.

On Tuesday, she filed suit in Hillsborough County Circuit Court against Fidel Castro, his brother Raul Castro and Cuba. Also named in the suit are the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces, El Ministerio Del Interior and the personal representative of Mederos’ estate.

The latter, listed as an unknown “John Doe” for now, may be the key to a payout if the suit succeeds against a country that doesn’t recognize U.S. law.

Ferro’s Tampa attorney acknowledged that Castro won’t send a check if he loses. What Guzman wants, however, is $10-million that Cuba is said to have wired Mederos earlier this decade, about the same time the former nurse stood trial in Miami. It’s not known if the money was sent to assist Mederos in his defense, but Guzman said it was passed on to his relatives.

If that fails, Guzman said, he hopes to get enough judgments on Ferro’s behalf to persuade the U.S. government to release what remains of $162-million in Cuban assets that the United States froze here when relations between the two countries soured.

First, Guzman and Ferro will need to show judges that they notified Castro and the Cuban government of the suit. The United States does not have diplomatic relations with Cuba or an embassy, so Guzman will try to make contact through Venezuelan or Spanish embassies, he said.

Ferro said she’s not only fighting for herself but also for all the victims of torture.

“How many Mederoses could be walking free in this country, and nothing has or ever will happen to them?” she asked.

3 thoughts on “castro’s legacy”

  1. We need a Simon Wiesenthal to address the crimes and criminals of the kaSStro era – the criminals must have no rest.

  2. Mederos sounds very eerily like Dr Mendele and many of his “doctors” in the Holocaust. We need to hunt all of those torturers and killers and make sure we thrown them into Hell.

  3. I agree with Alberto….and admire this woman’s courage and resilience for surviving what she did, and somewhat maintaining her sanity and her convictions. I do however object, always do, to calling Castros rose to power an “overthrow”; there was no such thing. Batista fled, Castro did some song and dance for a year, and then took over. I just wish the press would ONE TIME get it right.

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