Dying in Brussels, a must-read book for understanding Dominicans

Dominican writer Pablo Gómez Borbón, born in Santiago and based in Belgium, has delivered this year of pandemic a unique novel, of great political impact and that removes many of the foundations of the Dominican left, from the kidnapping of Colonel Donald J. Crowley, to the present day.

Pablo Gómez Borbón has removed heaven and earth behind the documents, stories, testimonies, reports and memories of one of the crimes that has had the most negative impact on the development of the revolutionary left: that of Maximiliano Gómez Horacio, better known as El Moreno, and the sequel that followed, the most ominous and terrible dismemberment of the widow of Otto Morales, taken to Brussels with her children, and accused of being responsible for the death of the leader of the MPD: Miriam Pinedo.

Without prejudices, with the most absolute freedom of investigation and eager to deliver the most surprising and unknown data about the moment and circumstances of the death of El Moreno, Pablo Gómez Borbón had the intelligence to assume the novelistic genre to delve into the deep waters, and all its aspects, of the deaths in Brussels. The book is entitled Morir en Bruselas (Dying in Brussels), and takes a journey through numerous countries, gathering testimonies, revelations, journalistic data, interviews, police reports and reports from intelligence agencies involved in the events of 50 years ago.

Many of the protagonists, mentioned with names and surnames in the investigation, are alive. Some of them wanted to offer information and others refused. The novel is cutting with respect to the refusals of characters of the Dominican left, who are almost pointed out as responsible for betraying El Moreno and the MPD, and then for the horrendous crime against Miriam Pinedo. A crime decided by a vote in a meeting held in Paris.

It is now that all the details are known. It is now when files are being reviewed in Belgium, Paris, Mexico, Cuba, Brazil, Chile, the United States, Canada, and the Dominican Republic, among other places, where those who made the decision to kidnap Otto Morales’ widow for six months, and later raped her, dismembered her and cut off her head, to scatter her body in various parts of the Belgian capital, were located or hid. A crime of the left or what was supposed to be the Dominican left.

It is a novel of great stylistic quality, with a theme, an argument, a plot, chapters that place the reader with remarkable skill in a position to draw conclusions.

What the author doesn’t know is that his novel has renewed hidden resentments, appeased by the years, and has served to place important figures of the old scheme of the Dominican left in elusive movements. Of course, it has also touched the sensibilities of families hard hit by those events.

Pablo Gómez Borbón has done a great service to the Dominican historical memory, and in particular to the memory of the Dominican left, of the Movimiento Popular Dominicano, a party that has almost disappeared, but which at the time was the most powerful ally of the former Partido Revolucionario Dominicano, and which united two important figures of the political processes of those years: José Francisco Peña Gómez and Maximiliano Gómez (El Moreno).

No one can remain indifferent to this novel. It is a punch loaded with sincerity and a claim on the crimes of the past. The MPD was the party most infiltrated by the intelligence agencies of the Dominican State, and also by intelligence agents of the CIA and other agencies interested in Dominican issues. Also, the MPD was the party that contributed the largest number of Dominican martyrs to its democracy, starting with Amin Abel Hasbun and Otto Morales, the two responsible for the organization and execution of the kidnapping of Colonel Crowley in Santo Domingo.

The silence of prominent figures of the left is just a symptom of the fibers that this work touches. It is still available in Dominican bookstores, and its reading is an opportunity to open the doors to a subject that has a very important essence in the democracy we have today.

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