The Dirty Business Between Soldiers and Prisoners / Dania Virgen Garcia

Prisons_Cuba_AFP. The image was taken in April 2013 when the foreign press was allowed to enter jails chosen by the state.

What about the wages of who officers who guard correctional facilities?  Do they traffic in narcotics and various benefits?

HAVANA, Cuba. – The ingestion of alcoholic beverages and psycho-pharmaceuticals is a very common vice in prisons, encampments and forced labor penitentiary settlements.  They provide, moreover, a business that is carried out day by day, in most cases, by prisoners with financial power.

Innumerable civilian workers and officials of the MININT (Ministry of the Interior) have been sanctioned in tribunals for the crimes of bribery and embezzlement.

Events like these often cause homicides.

There is a multitude of problems within the prisons and encampments: fights, bloodshed, theft, self-harm, escapes; these last are well paid-for to MININT’s civilian and military workers.

Life in the penitentiary settlements is incomparable to that of the jails.  They are workplaces or warehouses that belong to MININT. The quantity of prisoners that must inhabit them is reliably between 15 or 20, or those that bribe the re-educator of the prison or encampment.

Business is different in these places. The prisoners are privileged. Once they arrive they are free to do what they like. The supply of psycho-pharmaceuticals, alcohol, and the illicit businesses are not controlled. They may go outside the area when they want, ask permission to go to their homes and other benefits provided they bribe the guard and the officer.

The defenseless prisoners who report these outrages are exposed to reprisals, threats, severe beatings, shakedowns, punishments cells and prohibitions of their rights. They subject them to physical and psychological torture to make them shut up.

The inmates who do not allow themselves to break continue informing the independent press, which is their only means of defense.

When the punishments do not break them, they take away family visits and then transfer them to other prisons, some more than 200 kilometers from their families.

Another method that the guards use is to incite prisoners to physical attacks or accuse them of crimes not committed.

The heads of the Bureau of Prisons, Encampments and Forced Labor Settlements, within and outside of them, are not able to control this fully corrupt environment. Something is wrong when there is so much corruption.

Cubanet, March 18, 2014, Dania Virgen Garcia

Translated by mlk.

Angel Santiesteban Celebrates His First Year in Prison With a Cake

First anniversary in prison of the intellectual and writer Ángel Santiesteban-Prats

This 28th February marks the first anniversary of the unjust punishment imposed by the Havana provincial tribunal on the prize-winning writer Ángel Santiesteban-Prats. Judgement prepared by the Cuban government.

Santiesteban-Prats, has passed more than 5 months locked up in the Lawton centre, situated in the 10 de Octubre area, under constant restriction by the Heads of the Havana headquarters.

The celebrated literary figure, holder of various international and national prizes. In his critical blog of the¨Los hijos que nadie quiso¨(The Children Nobody Wanted) he has continued in his perennial role as stone-thrower into the middle of a pond. He redoubled his efforts. When the government attacked him, his ability to do this reduced.

In these 12 months he has suffered physical and psychological torture.

He found out that the appeal process which was presented to the Ministry of Justice (MINJUS) on July 4, 2013, had been filed away for more than six months on the basis of lack of a contractual agreement. Finally he presented another document, which is proceeding, has been accepted and is to be found in the Provincial Review Department, where they are keeping it while they wait for the sanctioning tribunal to forward them the lawsuit.

The injustice perpetrated against Santiesteban-Prats has served to strengthen him more. He has maintained his writing as a sacred space for this celebrated creator.

We hope that the Cuban government will accept responsibility for committing a grave error. Santiesteban, when he is free again, will continue to insist on the rights of all Cubans, because not even imprisonment has been able to stop him.

To all his readers, lovers of literature, do not give up the fight for his immediate release.

This day he was presented with a cake so he could celebrate his first anniversary in prison.

So that Amnesty International will declare the Cuban dissident Angel Santiesteban to be a prisoner of conscience you can sign the petition: please click on this link.

Published by: Dania Virgen García on 2nd March 2014 in Desde Cuba.

Translated by GH
3 March 2014

Strong Surveillance in Prison of Writer Angel Santiesteban / Dania Virgen Garcia

HAVANA, Cuba, January 7, 2014, Dania Virgen García / From the  Lawton prison settlement belonging to the Interior Ministry (MININT), a center that oversees construction materials for the manufacture of military housing, writer Angel Santiesteban Prats told this reporter that he is being subjected to arbitrary measures, and harassment.
On 4 January, a group of 19 prisoners was released on passes — prisoners who are being punished for crimes such as drug trafficking, murder, fraud, arms trafficking, economic crime, and human trafficking, among others. Santiesteban was alone with two guards and was watched around the clock. Shortly thereafter, in order to reinforce the monitoring, a jailer was sent from the Valle Grande prison, who stood in the doorway of the barracks from four in the afternoon until the following morning.

From the time he arrived, the new jailer watched him with suspicion, and the writer saw him several times, especially in the morning, watching him through the window of the barracks. This continued until the next day .

On the morning of the 6th, this jailer was reinforced with the arrival of another. The two guards are standing next to the third guard at the entrance of the barracks.

With the two mentioned above this is the fifth time the writer has been subjected to this arriving at the prison settlement on August 2nd. The famous artist accused of domestic violence and condemned to five years in prisons, expects to be subjected to an additional guard in a few days.

7 January 2014

Sonia Garro and Her Husband Will be Tried at the Beginning of November / Dania Virgen Garcia

HAVANA, Cuba, October 24, 2013, Dania Virgen García / The opposition couple  Sonia Garro Alfonso and Ramón Alejandro Muñoz González , along with Eugenio Hernandez Hernandez, will be tried on Friday, November 1, at 8:30 am, in the special chamber for crimes against State Security in a closed door session. The chamber is located at Carmen and Juan Delgado, in Vibora, in the 10 de Octubre municipality.

They are asking for a sentence of 10 year sentence for Lady in White Sonia Garro, for assault, disorderly conduct and attempted murder. They are asking for 14 years for her husband, Ramón Muñoz, for public disorder and attempted murder. For Eugenio Hernandez they are asking for 11 years, all three in case 418/2013.

Both opponents have been subjected to physical and psychological torture for a year and a half. Sonia Garro in the El Gautao women’s prison, to the east of Havana, and Muñoz at Combinado del Este on the other side of the capital.

The defense will be chaired by Amelia M. Rodriguez Cala.

Dania Virgen Garcia, dania.zuzy @

Cubanet, 24 October 2013


National Prison Hospital Has 15 Cholera Patients / Dania Virgen Garcia

HAVANA, Cuba, September 6, 2013, Dania Virgen García / In the National Prison Hospital (HNR) of Combined del Este prison in Havana, there are 15 confirmed cases of cholera, according to the inmate Daniel Perez Diaz, who is admitted there.

According to Perez Diaz, on 2 September there were 15 confirmed cases receiving hospital care in the HNR. In the intensive care ward there are twelve inmates in serious condition

Patients with different pathologies admitted to the intensive care ward of HNR, were transferred to open rooms without considering the risks of contagion that this could bring. The responsibility for this was the decision of the Ministry of Interior major Dr. Alexis.

On day 2, while Dr. Alexis visited, he stopped at the bed of inmate Daniel Perez Diaz and told him he was not interested in his cure, he announced he would not give permission for any other facility to treat him, calling him “counterrevolutionary” and threatening him with beatings for furnishing information to those he called “cheap journalists.”

By Dania Virgen Garcia —

From Cubanet

6 September 2013

Who Provoked the Riot in the Guatao Women’s Prison? / Dania Virgen Garcia

Havana women’s jail. Photo: Ismael Francisco/Cubadebate

Havana, Cuba, July 25, 2013, Dania Virgen Garcia /  A reliable source who asked to remain anonymous for reasons of safety — it is clear that this source is not political prisoner Sonia Garro, illegally confined in that prison — said that those who provoked the riot in the Guatao women’s prison west of Havana this last May 26 were male and female officers of internal order.  These had been transferred to other prisons without being prosecuted for incitement to commit crime, among other crimes that were sanctioned by military laws.

The source blames the riot on the first petty officer of internal order, Yunieski Figueredo Garcia; Yasnay Velez Hariarte, Chief of Re-Education, transferred to prison 1580 in San Miguel del Padron, a municipality where they conferred on her an apartment near this prison; Ismari Torres Pexidor, re-educator of detachment 3; and the chief of internal order, Rosaidi Osorio Palmero, alias “Iron Lady,” who was transferred to the prison Valle Grande.

All those mentioned maintained strong corruption with the so-called White Collars.

The deputy warden of the prison, officer Betty, was transferred to the National Direction of Jails and Prisons, located at 15 and K, El Vedado, in Havana.

The six prisoners who initiated the riot, most very young, still are in the Manto Negro women’s prison.

According to the source, “They sent the worst management team from MININT (Ministry of the Interior).”

The new head of the prison, Major Sara, was previously the second.  She arrived sanctioned by another prison. Until she serves out the sanction, Lieutenant Colonel Diaz is standing in for her.

Yunieski Figueredo, alias El Negro, husband of the chief of internal order, Rosaidi Osorio, still continues in the prison as if nothing had happened.  This deputy receives the new inmates.  He is accustomed to harassing the prisoners to force them to have sex with him.

The source alluded to the fact that the White Collar prisoners, who run the economy and finances in the prison, were prohibited from exercising their duty and were replaced by officers who had no experience in the matter.

One group of prisoners who worked in the “Luis Ramirez Perdigon” military school dealt with the location of prisoners in the penitentiaries as well as other military details.

Now, the White Collars are located as cleaning helpers in different Havana hospitals, like the Surgical Clinic, the Pediatric “Juan Manuel Marquez,” Calixto Garcia and the Oncology Hospital.

A racist jail

The Guatao prison hosts more than 100 prisoners for economic crimes, embezzlement, corruption and theft in customs packages, among others.  Every week women with these crimes enter.

“Lieutenant Colonel Diaz is racist,” assured the source.  She refers to fact that the jailers who direct the leading platoon, who are mostly black, were replaced by white jailers, which has inconvenienced the officials.

She said that the prisoners who are pregnant or have recently given birth, who are in the galleries of the Manto Negro prison, live in extremely deplorable conditions. The galleries are very humid due to the seepages in the walls and roofs.

She indicated that in the Guatao prison there are two jailers who belong to the repressive rapid response body that put down the Ladies in White; their names are Yarelis Hernandez Herrera and Maria Pedroso Herrera, both deputies.

The former director of the Manto Negro women’s prison, Lieutenant Colonel Mercedes Luna, was promoted a couple of years ago to the National Directorate of Jails and Prisons (15 and K).  Now she is serving on an international mission in the Republic of Angola.

Translated by mlk

3 August 2013