Prisons and HIV/AIDS in Cuba / Ignacio Estrada

By Ignacio Estrada

Havana, Cuba – There are a total of six penitentiaries in Cuban focused on confining the Cuban prison population affected by HIV/AIDS.

The existence of these prisons responds to the increase in the disease in Cuban prisons. A propagation that has as its principal routes of infection self-innoculation and unprotected sexual contact among prisoners.

These prisons are controlled by the National Prison Administration of the Ministry of the Interior and what the prison population that suffers from this disease has least is qualified medical care.

The prison population living with HIV/AIDS in Cuba is now more than 458 inmates of both sexes, fewer women, inmates the great majority of whom are young men. These inmates are serving sentences for common crimes and two have sentences of more than six months for political crimes. Inmates who are forgotten and abandoned by the authorities.

They are inmates described by their own jailers as cockroaches in the hen’s beak (bugs which can’t even be allowed to demand anything). The lack of food in these prisons results in malnourished inmates who in many cases have bone disease. Add to this the terrible medical care, the lack of medications and the lack of people qualified to determine or diagnose opportunistic illnesses.

The patients who serve these sentences are steadily stripped of a number of violations not only of the Human Rights recognized by the United Nations (UN) but also those recognized by the United Nations Organization for Fighting AIDS (UNAIDS). Violations that expose the evil act of a government that treads on such important rights, displaying them only as flags of the group in power.

Already there are hundreds of sick inmates constantly denouncing the existing hunger in these prisons, to which we can add the use of punishment, beatings, confinement in punishment cells, the short hours of sunshine and if that wasn’t enough the increase of self abuse which are one of the most common methods that threatens the lives of the prisoners themselves, but also one of the few weapons they have to denounce what they live through daily.

Lately the TV channels accredited on the Island have toured various Cuban prisons but the difference from the alternative media is that there is not telling of the reality lived by those serving sentences on the island.

The fact of remaining silent about things like this makes us unforgivably complicit, and fails one of the precepts given by the Greatest Man of all Time, Jesus Christ.

27 May 2013