Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. - http://www.cubafreepress.org

Dec. 20, 1999

CUBAN JAILS: NO HYGIENE BUT LOTS OF STENCH, ILLNESS AND INHUMANE TREATMENT By José Orlando González Bridón, CTDC, for Cuba Free Press.

Havana.- Jailers at the 11th unit of the National Police in the place called San Miguel del Padrón treat the inmates inhumanely, the inmates report.

They told that to Cuba Free Press on Dec. 16 after this writer was arrested and jailed once again in one of those dungeons, No. 6, with a maximum capacity of 10 inmates to sleep on beds of concrete or granite with no sheets or mattresses. Water is not supplied either for personal hygiene or to flush the toilets. The jailers permit access to drinking water only at mealtimes. The jailers never supply water.

So water for washing is nonexistent. Those who have been held there for 10, 15 or more days stink like skunks. When you enter the toilet areas you must keep your eyes closed and hold your breath because the eyes burn because of the stench of urine. Since the cell blocks are dark, some people defecate in the "wrong" place hence the floor is wet with urine mixed with feces, making the situation even worse.

The unbearable stench clings to your clothes and to your skin. Many times when we asked the guards for water to clean the area we were ignored. Some people spit on their beds or on the walls and their phlegm is stuck there along with vomit resulting from the stomach illnesses of hundreds and thousands who have trekked through these dungeons over the years. The walls once were white but now are blackened with the grime of so many years without hygiene or paint.

The lack of hygiene and ventilation of these cells makes those who are held for more than three days suffer respiratory problems and even intoxication. They are treated much like corralled animals. But the food is not even fit for pigs.

One trying to describe this place is faced with a shortage of words. Perhaps there are no words to describe such a dark and dirty place as the cells kept by the jailers of this police unit.

When the writer was told he was going to be released, those who remained asked Cuba Free Press to denounce to the world the horrible treatment and conditions prisoners face in this place. They asked whether the Cuba Public Health Ministry would come and inspect it and take the proper measures to correct the problem.

The writer doubts that the Public Health Ministry would take the trouble to inspect this jail. Communist regimes jail people in such subhuman conditions purposely as part of their re-education program for those who engage in petty crimes or who fight for human rights or who simply disagree with the policies followed by the government. Hopefully, this description of the terrible reality will awaken the world to the daily violations of human rights in Cuban prisons. The writer is a witness.

José Orlando González Bridón, CTDC, for Cuba Free Press.


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