Prison Diary LI: Punishments Without Crimes, Slaves of the Revolution

“I am being punished without their having proved that I committed a crime.” That phrase is most common among prisoners who approach me. Suspicious, only after reading the prosecutor’s request and the sanction of the court, I believe them. No proof is needed for a punishment, that’s the reason te processes are so weak. They just assess your social-political behavior, and then make the final assessment, and as the powers in Cuba are not divided and everything comes from the totalitarian regime, they simply follow orders to take off the street those who don’t show confidence in and unconditional support for the dictatorship, criminals or not, evidence or not.

Government policy is that it is better to have them prisoners, working without pay, or to give a paltry symbolic salary to a few, and in this way to possess an army of working slaves, always on hand. I suspect there’s another reason — and God forbid — which is if there is a war they can offer them freedom in exchange for fighting, and I’m sure that “troops” would accept, no matter the political issue, the reason or personal gain, which is none other than the immediate release.

One of the latest who told me he was unjustly punished, after giving me his legal papers and reading them, I learned had been condemned for receiving a 200 dollar bonus, which was sent from abroad by the owner of the firm that he worked for, as a year-end bonus.

In his work, as an economist, they found no violated. After a thorough audit the statistics were found in perfect order; even so he was sentenced to seven years in prison. A man over fifty years old, who never had a reprimand in his work sheet, on the contrary, however, nothing was worth so much sacrifice, so much offered for such an insufficient and ridiculous salary.

The sanctioned such as these abound in the barracks, incredible allegations, improbable processes, and painful penalties.

A reality that would be laughable if it were the cause for so much fear and pain in the separated Cuban families.

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats

Prison 1580, July 2013

21 August 2013