Los inhabitants of the house marked with number 29 Rhine River Street in Colonia Cuauhtemoc Mexico City, usually work an average of 12 hours aday from Monday to Sunday in exchange for about 150 pesos a week. Some days they even stop sleeping in order to fully fulfill their mission: “to clarify the world”.
In this building live foreigners who are in the country with tourist visas and also Mexicans without contract or benefits. Come to their families one day every two or three months. Women are forbidden to become pregnant; If they do, they are pressed to abort. If someone gets sick, they leave him or throw him out.
The internal rules are rigid and are made so that nobody even thinks about the possibility of fleeing. Very few cross the exit door. The group punishes very severely the dissidence.
It is about the Organization of the Sea, a semi-secret group (very few know its rules or know who they are or how many members) that controls from here and for all Latin America the activities of the Church of Scientology (unofficial name given themselves ) Or Dianetics.
This is clear from conversations with Rafael Gomez and Victor Gutierrez, who did escape from the sect. They are not the only ones who have succeeded, but the first to dare to denounce the horrors that live in it: people, psychological abuse and hours of work inhuman.
“Each of those who work donate their whole lives. We speak of an organization that specializes in captive to emotional, spiritual and even physical people; Is lived under a semi-military regime. They do not even have health insurance, they pray not to get sick; Do not give them even the minimum wage and yet they work sometimes day and night, “reveals Rafael Gómez, who fled five years ago.
Before entering the Organization of the Sea the employees sign a contract for a trillion years, because this group proposes the thesis that its affiliates reincarnate. On the website scientology-lies.com (Scientology lies) Copies of these almost eternal, as stated in the ESO 00985 sheet signed by Lisa Skonetski agreements.
The food portions they give are poor and the menu is almost unchanged: oatmeal at breakfast, pasta in the meal and small portions of chicken at dinner. Rafael estimates that some 90 people work for the Organization of the Sea and the third part are foreigners who mock the law with tourist visas: before their permit expires, they are sent to Guatemala and back to record that they are still traveling.
This happened to Andrea Benitez, an Argentine who arrived without permits and who when she tried to return to her country found that the members of the sect had withheld her passport to prevent her leaving Mexico.
“In the case of Mexico, last December they asked to be recognized as a religion for the second time. The Ministry of the Interior still decides on the registration ».
That is why Alex Spatz, a member of the Organization of the Sea was accused of trafficking in persons by a Colombian woman and sentenced to six years in prison, the Attorney General’s Office reported in bulletin 1772, dated August 25, 2011.
An investigation by the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Crimes of Violence against Women and Trafficking demonstrated that Spatz “belonged to a moral person who contacted a Colombian woman in the city of Bogotá and was deceived by the decease to Mexico, where she finally went Subjected to forced labor, “the statement said.
According to Rafael Gómez, Spatz only followed the orders of his superiors. In the Organization of the Sea it is common that foreigners are recruited with deceit to bring them to Mexico, from where Scientology controls its subsidiaries in the rest of Latin America.
In order to understand what the Organization of the Sea is, it is necessary to explain the origins of Scientology or Dianetics, a cult founded in 1952 by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, apparently following a bet that, as the scientist Carl Sagan narrated in His book Broca’s Brain (1979): “He had to invent a religion and make a living with it.”
Scientology is announced as an organization dedicated only to courses of personal improvement. In its first approaches offers the application of free personality tests; In a second step it proposes to its potential affiliates courses linked to the failures that found in the first tests. If for example a person has problems with studies, they advise you to attend the workshop “Learning to learn”.
In the first stages the courses are very cheap, but they become more expensive as the interested person progresses in his process. There are dozens of courses, books and workshops. Those who attend the talks believe that their life begins to improve, so they continue the courses with enthusiasm until they are called to work as part of the Scientology team, which means giving much of their lives to the cause. The most constant are called to join the Organization of the Sea, the semi-secret group that controls the operation of the sect.
As interested people enroll in more courses, they are trained in the belief of Scientology: the existence of perverse aliens who seized the universe, which contaminate humans and prevent them from being perfect. The mission of a scientologist is to clarify the world: to cleanse humanity of that extraterrestrial influence and to lead it to perfection and immortality. If a family member or friend of some scientologists questions their beliefs, the organization pressures the individual to cut off all contact with them. Euphemistically they call it disconnection.
In October 2009 the dianetics was fined in France with 600 thousand euros for the crime of fraud. In Russia, the Religious Council of the Janti-Mansi Autonomous District banned Ron Hubbard’s materials as extremists. In 1996 the German government called this sect “very dangerous and authoritarian.” He has also had legal problems in Greece and England.
Time magazine, the BBC, The New Yorker and dozens of media have published reports and documentaries on fraud, forced labor, slavery and abuses committed by the sect. However their adepts seldom find out because they are threatened with being excommunicated (they call them suppressive) and lose eternal salvation in case of reading material contrary to the dianetic creed.
In the case of Mexico, last December they asked to be recognized as a religion for the second time. The Ministry of the Interior still decides on the registration.
Dianetics came to Mexico in the 1960s. Luis González, director of Support for Community Programs of the sect, reported that he has 5,300 followers, according to the newspaper Reforma on 27 February, following the second dianetic request to the Ministry of Interior.
To become more adept dianetics uses many facades. By means of supposedly civil organizations it puts posters, creates pages in Internet and sends massive mails in which it offers to solve all type of problems, from business to addictions.
Its main façades: Understand More Achieves More, WISE, Narconon, Latin American Foundation The Road to Happiness and Effective Business Solutions.
Thanks to this strategy they have been able to teach courses in the National Lottery, the Federal Administration of Educational Services of the Federal District and even in schools of 15 cities of the Republic, including public primaries. Also they managed that TV Azteca included the video The road to the happiness in its programming (authorization issued by the Secretariat of Interior S-08-00137).
They are insatiable when it comes to demanding donations. Víctor Gutiérrez was forced to leave the Organization of the Sea by embarrassing his wife. Before they suggested to leave it and to continue giving its life to the association. He was later “public” (the equivalent of a layman in the Catholic Church) but left in 2009 because he was repeatedly called in the early hours to demand that he pay his donations.
He had to borrow two credit cards for approximately 20 thousand pesos each to meet the demands of Scientology, he said in an interview. Tired of feeling defrauded, he began to search the Internet for information about the cult, until he became convinced of the danger it represented.
Thanks to this strategy of pressure to obtain donations, Scientology built its monumental and imposing new temple in the street of Balderas, in Mexico City. It covers almost an entire street. In addition, the organization acquired an area in Interlomas, where it erects its most ambitious project: the headquarters of the Advanced Organization of Mexico, another of its façades.
There are also four other associations in the Federal District: the Dianetics Technological Institute, the Dianetics Development Organization, the Latin American Cultural Center and the Dianetics Cultural Center.
There are also representations and groups in León, Monterrey, Guadalajara and Puebla.
On a worldwide scale, Scientology adds its stars to the show to be promoted. They belong to the sect Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Katie Holmes and Anne Archer. In Mexico the actor Juan Ferrara fulfills this function.
I called the Church of Scientology to ask for his version regarding the abuses of which he is accused. Jonathan Rico, spokesman for Scientology for Latin America, sent an e-mail to this reporter with a copy to a law firm. In the message he demanded to obtain a copy of the report before its publication and accused of defaming the Church of Scientology, not without suggesting a threat:
“I also wish to inform you that while I am in the best position to maintain a friendly institutional relationship with you, we are also ready to defend and protect our Church, our religion, and the dignity of our membership against falsehoods, Discrimination, religious hatred and slander “.
Rico asked as a condition to give an interview to be given a previous questionnaire. The questions were e-mailed to him and I asked him to allow me to visit the facilities of the Organization of the Sea, see the work visas of his foreign employees as well as documents stating how much they are paid. The first meeting agreed could not be carried out due to problems of both agenda. The spokesman of the organization promised to communicate later to arrange another appointment. It did not.
Instead during the interviews I had with the former members of the sect, there were people who took pictures and escaped from the place where the talks were held. At the conclusion of a talk at the Sanborns cafe in downtown Coyoacan, one of the interviewees noticed that a man had photographed us and immediately ran away.
In addition, a person who initially agreed to give his testimony, later retracted because Scientology threatened to spread aspects of his private life among his relatives. His version was relevant, as he documented a million-dollar extortion case to aid the construction of one of the buildings.
The BBC has published a report on how Scientology hires private investigators to bring to light aspects of the intimate lives of journalists who dare to reveal the abuses they commit. A source from that organization confided that they had done the same to me in their eagerness to discredit the content of this report.
From Barcelona, the therapist Michael Pearl, a member of the College of Psychologists of Catalonia and specialist cases of people affected by the abuses of sects explains strategies pressure of Scientology:
“When people leave Scientology they feel very upset, they are afraid to speak, they tell them inside that psychiatrists and psychologists will hurt them. They have very powerful law firms and more or less open strategies of intimidation. They threaten to spread confidential information that the person gave in supposed therapy sessions. ”
The sect operates in such a way, says the specialist, who make them believe that the whole world is their enemy, as well as they manage to unbalance the personality of its members.
“What do they gain from that?”
“You win the dome, which is in the United States.” Everything is a funnel that will stop there. They seek to make the world a Scientologist and feed on more and more people. The more adepts, the more money.
Víctor Gutiérrez handled the finances of Scientology in the nineties. At that time he collected from the parishioners about 150 thousand pesos a week. Almost all the money was sent to the United States and the local organizations worked in red numbers. The highest commanders in Mexico generally live up to date, convinced of their project, Rafael Gómez confided.
Bernardo Barranco, a researcher at El Colegio de México and director of the Center for Religious Studies in Mexico, warns that not only does Scientology commit such abuses with its adherents. He points out that the sacristans and helpers of many Catholic temples are generally bankrupt and work without hours or benefits.
Regarding the disconnection with the rest of the world, remember that inside the Catholic Church is practiced by the Legionaries of Christ with their candidates for religious.
“The more sectarian and the smaller the sect, the more abuses there are. Scientology in this sense is no exception, and is part of a great trend of many other religious organizations.
On December 12, Scientology delivered eight kilograms of documents to the Ministry of the Interior to obtain its registration. In 1999 they were denied the request, apparently because it did not meet all the requirements; However Barranco believes that this time will be different because the organization was careful to meet all the requirements, in addition to lobbying with the federal government.
“Is Mexico in danger?” I ask Perlado.
“Scientology, even if it says it has thousands of followers, does not really have them and is very discredited on a world scale. But humanly yes: there are family ruptures, estrangement from old religions, psychological vulnerability and other equally important imbalances.