Letters from the San José Prison Part 3 / Wendy Iriepa and Ignacio Estrada

Mayabeque, Cuba.- My name is Denis Luis Gómez Serrano, I’m 26 years old, I’m a primary, it’s my first sanction.  I would like to tell you that there are no psychotropic drugs here, and I left with permission and brought back my medication and now they want to sentence me to 8 more years of unlawful detention, when I was just about to be freed for finishing my term.

I had had HIV/AIDS for six years, when I became a prisoner, I came in as minimum security, getting a pass and everything since there are no medications here, they are always lacking, and since I have psychiatric problems I bring my medication from home and now they want to give me a longer sentence.

There are some 20 women here, and even they have knives because here you have to survive against the delinquency and neglect. You have to have weapons even if you don’t want to, even if you don’t have the courage to use them or else they’ll kill you. Here the black race is predominant. There’s no discrimination between us, the discrimination comes from the authorities because of our medical condition, if you go to a court and you have HIV/AIDS, they put you inside, so there are fewer people on the street with AIDS.

The authorities here, even the senior ones, know everything that is happening to us, they are the first ones that turn to stealing, imagine that to transfer to another detachment here in Baracoa, the head of internal order charges you $25, they are living with us here, the guard sell everything, food, drugs, the beds are $20 and there are sick people sleeping on the floor.

I want the world to know our situation and for international human rights organizations to consult with us.

Translated by: Megan Jantsch

January 23 2012