Prison Diary IV. Cuba: Urgent Legality / Angel Santiesteban

Cubans are guilty until proven otherwise. This is how justice works on the archipelago. If they suspect you they arrest you, then they investigate, and if they don’t find something to prosecute you for they send you to jail anyway for the benefit of the doubt.

Thus defendants swarm in prison without evidence to warrant their being their. People who claim to be innocent but can not always prove it, therefore they will be condemned.

The sentences “by conviction” judges determine by smell and perception; they are the ones who decide whether they are guilty or not.

Also, for decades, through the Heads of Sectors, the names of those who should go to prison are given, because they are considered criminal elements and they could commit crimes, but in fact they are not, perhaps not what they thought.

There are cases in which the Heads of Sectors, who are something like the owners of the destinations of the couples where they are located, have sent men with beautiful wives to prison with the intention of separating them and making then available for their morbid purposes, they invent this classification of “dangerous”; on other occasions they imprison a sister who resists being their lover, or simply because an enemy pays a price to get them out of the way and expand their business by suppressing the competition.

Sometimes they have chosen someone for inclusion on the blacklist for a look that they dislike or they don’t like your face, or other impression according to their character or the nature of their personality.

An injustice that causes daily arrival of dozens of young people that nobody wants, young Cubans.

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats

La Lima Prison, March 2013

22 March 2013