Letters from San Jose Prison Part 2 / Wendy Iriepa and Ignacio Estrada

Mayabeque, Cuba.

My Dears,

My name is Angel Pulido Donato, I am 30 years of age, I’m sick with HIV-AIDS.

This is where you most feel the dictatorship, in the regime of the AIDS prison in San Jose de las Lajas, in Mayabeque. They (the authorities) fill their mouths to say that this is a special unit, and it is a lie. This place is full of bars on all sides, we are mistreated.

To us, the HIV-AIDS patients here in Cuba when we stand before a court, it is best not to say you’re sick because sentences are much higher, if so, they punish you with 5 to 6 years.

Here we are depressed. People are dying. We have low defenses and opportunistic diseases attack us, and even if they don’t, we get depressed.

Here it is like a concentration camp but for the sick, they fill their mouths to say that AIDS patients are bad, problematic, it is that people do not help us, so they do not worry about us. I have seen many people die here, and I do not want to die in this place after being sentenced to death by my illness.

Meanwhile, the more sick people who are ill, the better it is for them because it is a business. Everything that comes here for us is stolen by the authorities: chicken, cheese, ham, meat, beans, powdered milk, they give us nothing here, we only drink watery tea for our snack, and they fill their mouths saying they give us six meals a day and it is a lie.

We get chicken, fish but they don’t give it to us, the put it in the blender and what we get is the broth of this meat.

Here, nobody can complain, if you come visit from any province around the world, you have to stop and sign your name and if you say anything the one in charge of discipline, who is a prisoner like myself, will beat you down, and people are dying here.

In this year nine have have already died, the latest died of candidiasis, an opportunistic disease that attacks us because of the poor conditions in which we live, the lack of medical care and hygiene. The water we drink is not clean, put it out 3 times a day for a little while and if you go to the bathrooms you feel the urge to vomit.

Now they are fixing the bathrooms, I expect an important visitor has them running.

They beat us when we demand our rights because we have had to reveal ourselves. They have repeatedly hit us recently without consideration of the fact that we are sick.

The authorities hate us. Every time a patient with HIV / AIDS goes to the court the sentences are extreme. They give us 10 or 12 years, just for being sick.

The penetenciary authorities of this prison have also created a command of prisoners whose jobit is to beat with sticks any prisoners who do not comply with their rules and violate ours.

I know I am going to die, I have parasites, they don’t give me any medical care, they tell me it is only for the gravely ill and the asthmatics are the only ones who get attention, for the rest they have no medications.

Why are there no medicines here, is this is a prison for AIDS and Cuba is a medical powerhouse?

Here there are 400 prisoners, more or less, sick of HIV/AIDS including women whom they bring more and more without preparing conditions for them.

The world should know this, tell them, they are killing us.

Spanish post
January 23 2012