Prison Diary XLII: No Right to Have Rights / Angel Santiesteban

The prison population has been overcome by stomach upset from a chicken not kept cold, completely decomposed, that was served to the prisoners. That night, everyone except me — I have been in this place three months without accepting “food” — ran from their beds to the bathroom. Lately it has also happened with the hash and other dishes.

 A prisoner who tried to demand his rights, was savagely beaten and then sent to the punishment cell, which is their way of imposing order.

The lack of doctors in the prison, the tiny food ration and its poor quality, the constant beatings of the prisoners by the guards, the forced labor without pay, mental patients receiving psychotropic drugs three times a day, unfair penalties, the mistreatment of family, bedbugs, scabies, lice, lack of water in the prison and, thus, poor sanitation and cleanliness of the prisoners, the poor condition of the barracks, make this prison 1580, into an Olympian concentration camp.

The prisoners, who know through me and the politician Piloto Barceló, that Cuba received numerous recommendations in Geneva where the alleged “human rights” prevailing in the island, were exposed, are pinning their hopes on the Commission to return again in September, that the Rapporteurs who visit prisons will listen to them and their families recount the outrages of their legal process and then the penalties for offenses that are not considered such in any part of the world, and especially, as we have made known, the obligation to sign the UN Covenants, after evading them for over five years and that, at the last meeting, they were denied the time they asked for, alleging they weren’t prepared.

That would be the beginning, if they signed, our dream as Cubans not to be censored or persecuted for what we say, much less imprisoned.

To paraphrase Willy Chirino, “the dream is already coming.”

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats, Prison 1580

1 August 2013