It is the year 1951 and more than 15 years ago that Mr. Gómez Mena, wounded on the morning of
January 29 by Mr. Ángel Machado Palomino, did not have any kind of relationship with his aggressor.
Even the well-known landowner had not been directly involved in the separation of Mr. Machado in
1937 from the Compañía Azucarera Gómez Mena, because when that happened he was traveling abroad. The
reason for the separation of said company was, as reported, the assault to the Central Amistad
administrator, Mr. Herminio Rodríguez.
The loss produced by a long period of failures in their activities within the sugar industry seems to have been the reason that prompted Ángel Machado Palomino to try to kill the famous landowner José Gómez Mena and commit suicide later. Subsequent investigations showed that no relationship of any kind existed between the victim and the perpetrator for at least 15 years.
The wounds received by the hacendado Gómez Mena, although serious, did not endanger his life because, according to the report of the doctors who assisted him, the projectiles did not cross vital organs.
The assailant, who after shooting four times on his victim tried to commit suicide, did not survive the injuries, since the bullet went through his brain and caused him a great loss of brain mass.
As usual while residing in the capital, landowner José Gómez Mena left his house, located on Grand Boulevard and Fourth Avenue, in the Country Club, shortly after 10 o'clock in the morning. In his car he took a seat next to the driver and ordered him to go to the Manzana de Gómez, where he has his offices in apartment 238.
Forty minutes later, Gomez Mena descended from the vehicle in front of the main door of the building, down Zulueta Street, and went to one of the columns of the same, where he sells newspapers Florentino Serra Pernas, 41 years old and neighbor of Aguila 560, a who asked to give him the morning papers.
With a slow step and reading the headlines of one of the newspapers he had just bought, he went through the door and went to the elevators.
Oblivious to everything surrounding, he stopped, always reading, to wait for one of the elevators to come down. At that time an individual approached him and, without any word, extracted a revolver that he carried and fired at the landowner four consecutive times.
Then the assailant, seeing that Gómez Mena was collapsing, placed the gun barrel on his right temple and shot himself, falling heavily on the pavement not far from his victim.
In the first moments it was believed that it was one of the personal attacks to which public opinion is accustomed, but, once the minutes of panic that produced the shooting had passed, the newspaper vendor, who had followed the squire down He ran into the lobby and saw that two men were lying on the floor in the middle of two pools of blood.
- What happened to him, Don Pepe! ... what happened to him! Florentino Sierra shouted. The landowner, said the newspaper vendor, only replied:
-I do not know him ... I do not know who he is. He is crazy!
Without wasting time, Sierra Pernas cried out for help from other people to carry the landowner and transfer him to the welfare center. When he was about to do it, an individual appeared who imperatively ordered not to touch the wounded and leave things as they were. "But do not you see that this man is dying?" Explained the newspaper salesman.
When the newcomer insisted on the fulfillment of his order, the vigilante Ubaldo Catasús Roríguez and the army enlist Pedro F. Calderón, of the Presidential Guard, appeared before whom the aforementioned individual was identified, turning out to be Pedro Pablo Menéndez Domínguez, of 33 years old and GRAS technical photographer.
The situation was clarified, and since the order had given it believing it was a new political attack, Sierra and Menéndez Domínguez charged Gómez Mena and introduced him in a car that took him to the first socoro center.
Meanwhile, the guard and the enlisted, in another car, drove the other injured to the same center, whom they immediately sent to the emergency hospital, so that they could undergo an urgent surgical intervention.
The physicians on duty who assisted the rich landowner certified that he had four wounds produced by a firearm projectile: one in the left maxillary region, an entrance hole; another in the same region on the right side, exit hole; one in the posterior third of the neck and one in the right anterior tibial region with level fracture. The other wounded had two wounds: one in the frontal occipito region, exit orifice, and another in the left temporal, orifice of entrance, being its very serious state, reason why an urgent surgical intervention was arranged, being sent to the center and aforementioned.
Considered one of the most solid men in Cuba, Gómez Mena has been dedicated all his life to the exploitation of the sugar industry, in which he has supported himself to reach such a top position. Owner of the Amistad, Gómez Mena, Merceditas and Resolution plants; owner of numerous urban farms; Determinant man in the world of finance, José Gómez Mena had occupied relevant prestige in the social and political field.
His relationship with the workers of his mills is totally cordial and respectful. So much so that he was in charge of manufacturing each of the premises where the unions are established. Given the events of his attack, and in solidarity with Gómez Mena, a portrait of him was placed in the meeting room of his workers.
As for the social, José Gómez Mena occupied the presidency of the Vedado Tennis Club; He was a distinguished member of the Havana Yatch Club, H. Country Club Biltmore and other prestigious entities of our country.
As an anecdote of the personality and prestige of Gómez Mena, there was a member of Vedado Tennis who, on the occasion of his return from Europe and the services he had done for society, a group of partners took the agreement to make a collection to give her an art object. When the employees of Vedado Tennis were aware of the purpose, they asked the organizers to allow them to cooperate, since they were also grateful to José Gómez Mena, who had given them the opportunity to achieve important improvements in their living conditions.
In the same social field José Gómez Mena is well known both in Cuba and abroad. His house has given hospitality to the most notable men who have visited the island, being able to name among them the former King Leopold of Belgium, who was the godfather of one of his grandchildren. Christmas parties in the residence of the rich are legendary. In general, they were also attended by the President of the Republic, well-known figures in the economic, political and social field of the continent.