A Real Case
It might seem made-up, but it’s not. It’s a person in real life. What I am about to tell you could have happened to any Cuban on the island. And right now, it could happen again.
In the beginning of 2009, Dennis Guerra, in a drunken state, was detained by the police at the Aguilera Station, located in the 10 de Octubre Municipality in Havana. They arrested him using force and Dennis resisted.
At the oral proceedings, held on August 14, he was sentenced to a total of three and a half years imprisonment: a year and six months for assault, and two years for disobedience to authority. As an additional sentence, the court decided to specify correctional work placement.
Criminal proceedings against Guerra began in the middle of April. They charged him with a more serious crime than he committed. He was accused of assault when what he had done was an act of resistance.
Dennis claimed that the agents accused him of “assault” to make him pay for the hard time he had given them. He needed to learn a lesson: don’t mess around with the police.
With assault, the motive is the use of violence or intimidation against an authority, official, its agents or auxiliaries, to keep them from carrying out their duties, or to force them to undertake them, or as a reprisal for the exercise of them. Criminal action also protects the witnesses and family members of everyone involved.
To commit a crime of resistance, someone resists an authority, public official or its agents or auxiliary in the exercise of their duties. It is quite different than violently resisting or intimidating a police office to keep them from effecting an arrest.
As you can see, there is a fine line between assault and resistance, but they are not the same. At trial, based on the intentions of the accused, the court determines when a crime has been committed. In Cuba, however, we frequently find authoritative officials acting with impunity against the rights of a citizen.
There are Cubans who wear uniforms to exercise the power it gives them. Unscrupulous people who act like despots, and whom the system enables to victimize others and who then turn around and claim to be the victims when, for the sake of vengeance, they bring the judicial machinery to bear against a citizen. As happened in the case of Dennis Guerra.