’11J’ Political Prisoner Denounces the Malnutrition Suffered by His Fellow Inmates in a Havana Prison

Prison 1580 is located in the Havana municipality of San Miguel del Padrón / Institute for War & Peace Reporting 

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 30 May 2024 — A handwritten letter sent to activist Martha Beatriz Roque by political prisoner Nilo Abrahantes Santiago this Tuesday denounces the precarious living conditions of the inmates of Prison 1580, located in the municipality of San Miguel del Padrón, in Havana. The letter, to which this newspaper had access, insists that many inmates suffer from malnutrition.

This prison’s inmates “are about to suffer from serious illness due to hunger (…). Among them is me, weighing 47 kilograms (101 pounds) and being 1.65 meters (5’4″) tall,” Abrahantes details to the former political prisoner of the Black Spring of 2023.

The political prisoner, arrested for participating in the demonstrations of 11 July 2021 (’11J’), included with the letter the signatures of nine other inmates — incarcerated for different reasons — who signed their names and gave an account of their heights and weights “in their own hand,” to demonstrate the disproportion between their size and their body mass.

This is the case of Yohany Lázaro Ramos Cartaya, 5 feet tall and 86 pounds, and Javiel Cárdenas González, 5’10” and only 110 pounds. They are followed by Rolando Guerra Lombillo, 6’2″ and 128 pounds; Joel Crespo Gutiérrez, 5’4″ and 101 pounds, and Ángel Lázaro Castellano Ramírez, also 5’4″ m 101 pounds. Four others, Liván Díaz Machado, Jonathan Delgado Traba, Bárbaro Oviedo Rosell and Wilber Luis Pérez, stand about 5’7″ tall, but in no case exceed 119 pounds, a body mass index considered low for men of their height.

Abrahantes included a list of nine other prisoners who signed their names, weight and height / Courtesy

Abrahantes has already denounced the situation faced by prisoners in Cuban prisons on several occasions. In the case of Prison 1580, the political prisoner has described it as “a concentration camp” where food is scarce and of poor quality, hygiene is precarious, and medical care for inmates is almost non-existent.

Other detainees in anti-government demonstrations in the rest of the country have denounced similar conditions. Yoandri Reinier Sayú Silva, sentenced to eight years in prison for sedition for demonstrating on 11 July 2021, denounced a case of medical negligence and an outbreak of tuberculosis in Prison 1580 a week ago.

The 22-year-old man suffered from severe pain in the abdomen for 10 days, was unable to defecate and had a high fever, it was then that the prison commanders transferred him to the Salvador Allende General Hospital, where he arrived with a burst appendix and a severe infection.“Inmates fall ill and have no medicine. I survived, but I could have died and there are some who did not survive because of poor care and poor hygiene,” said Sayú Silva.

Another case is that of Lisdani Rodríguez, sentenced to eight years, one of the two sisters of Placetas, Villa Clara, arrested after demonstrating on 11J. She was granted a one-year extra-penal leave on Tuesday for her pregnancy. News about Rodriguez’ pregnancy began circulating at the beginning of the year, when her mother, Barbara Isaac, denounced the pressure by the political police officers at the Guamajal women’s prison, in Santa Clara, for her to have an abortion. Now, she says, the authorities hid, for several weeks, a condition suffered by the young woman that puts her pregnancy at risk.

Likewise, Isaac has denounced the poor diet that the inmates receive in the prison, which is accompanied by poor medical care, which causes the imprisoned women’s health to deteriorate. “They take her to the consultations but do not fully inform her of the results. She asked and only then did the doctor tell her she had to rest, but that’s impossible. She has to make physical efforts all the time because they don’t have water and they have to carry it,” Isaac said about the care her pregnant daughter is receiving.

Translated by LAR


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