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Castro's Gulag

 

Can you see the difference?

Here is a photo of Fidel Castro after his arrest in 1953, for leading an assault against a military garrison that resulted in the death of more than two dozen people, between attackers and government soldiers.

After the attack failed, Fidel Castro went into hiding.

He turned himself in after Santiago de Cuba's Archbishop, Msgr. Enrique Perez Serantes, guaranteed his life and a right to a fair trial.

He was sentenced to 15 years in jail, but was pardoned after only 21 months and 15 days in jail.

These are photos of Castro walking out of prison and being received by sympathizers at a railroad station..

Castro referred to his time in prison as a vacation at a  "country club," in letters that he wrote to friends while he was in jail.

When he left prison after being pardoned, he looked even healthier than when he went in.

Now lets look at these photos of Ariel Sigler Amaya the prisoner of conscience that was paroled yesterday by the Castro regime after 7 years in prison.

Ariel Sigler didn't commit any violent crime, as Castro did. He didn't cause any deaths, as Castro did.

His only crime was collecting books to open a Public Library at his home.

For that, Ariel and his brother, who still remain in jail, were sentenced to 20 years in Castro's Gulag.

Before Ariel Sigler Amaya went to jail he used to be a heavyweight boxer.

This is how he looked back then:

Now look at these photos of Ariel Sigler Amaya, when he arrived at his home on Saturday after 7 years in Castro's Gulag.

Can you see the difference between the jail of Batista, the "dictator," and the Gulag run by the Castro brothers, the torturers who the main stream media still refer to as the "former president" and "current president" of Cuba?

 

Cuban hunger striker who sewed lips shut hospitalized

Sept. 23 -  A Cuban dissident who sewed his lips shut after doctors made fun of his hunger strike was taken to a hospital Wednesday suffering from convulsions and blackouts, an independent journalist reported.

Vladimir Alejo Miranda, 47, stopped eating 62 days ago, sewed his mouth Sept. 5 and stopped drinking water Tuesday, journalist Heriberto Liranza Romero told El Nuevo Herald by phone from Havana.
Alejo's wife, Rita Montes de Oca, joined his hunger strike and also sewed her lips Sept. 12 with regular sewing thread and a needle, the journalist said.
About 15 Cubans sewed their lips together in recent memory to protest against the communist government, said Ricardo Bofill, a founder of the Cuban Committee for Human Rights now living in Miami.

 

Photos of the funeral of Orlando Zapata Tamayo (UPDATED)

March 14 - Miscelaneas de Cuba has received a CD with 45 photos of the funeral of Orlando Zapata Tamayo

 

Castro's fascist thugs yelled racist insults at the mother of Orlando Zapata Tamayo

March 17 - Reina Luisa Tamayo, mother of Cuban martyr Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who died on February 24 after 85 days in a hunger strike, said that the fascist thugs who attacked a peaceful demonstration on Wednesday by The Ladies in White, yelled racial insults at her when they were trying to force her to get inside a bus of the Interior Ministry, to be taken away from the demonstration.

"They kept yelling at me 'Negra de mierda, móntate en la guagua,'" (Shitty nigger, get in the bus) she said.

The audio was played during the program A Mano Limpia, with Oscar Haza, on Channel 41 in Miami.

Reina Luisa said that she was pushed and hit several times by those who were forcing her to get inside the bus.

She accused the Castro brothers of the attack against unarmed women who were simply carrying flowers in a peaceful protest and said that they will be out on the streets tomorrow again.

Don't expect any reaction against the racist regime in Cuba by any of those Afro-American leaders who have been in bed with the Castro brothers for 51 years, while these criminals continue to exploit and oppress the Cuban people.

It seems that for them, racism is OK, as long as it comes from the Castro brothers.

 

A t-shirt stained with the blood of Orlando Zapata Tamayo

March 10 - In this photo, sent from Cuba by independent journalist Carlos Serpa Maceira, the mother of Cuban martyr Orlando Zapata Tamayo shows one of his t-shirts stained with blood marks, after one of the beatings that he suffered while in prison.

And then you have to hear those criminals running Cuba's government claiming that no one has ever been tortured in Castro's Gulag.

 

Spanish daily El Pais has more photos of the brutal attack against The Ladies in White

March 18 - A Cuban policeman, wearing civilian clothes, dragging a member of the Ladies in White by her hair, in this photo by Spanish newspaper El Pais.

Will the Black Caucus, Danny Glover, Jessie Jackson, Danny Glover, Harry Belafonte and all the other so called "Afro-American leaders," have anything to say about this photo? Don't count on it.

Click here to see many more photos of today's brutal attack against the Ladies in White El Pais

 

A regime has to feel really weak, to be so scared of innocent women carrying flowers, not guns

March 17 - Why would a regime that boast to have the second largest and best equipped army in this Hemisphere, be so afraid of a group of women conducting a peaceful protest and carrying only flowers, not guns?

Because that regime, that claims that its leaders are elected by 99.99% of the votes, knows that the people hates them and the only reason why they can remain in power is by sheer terror.

They know that any protest, no matter how small, could produce the spark that would light the torch of freedom from one end of Cuba to the other.

And once people lose their fear, a regime like the one in Cuba cannot last.

That is why the Stalinist regime in Cuba will continue to defy the international community and keep using brutal tactics to repress those who ask for a change in the island.

The Castro brothers know that if they allow a small opening, their brutal regime would collapse, like it happened with those in Eastern Europe and with other totalitarian regimes.

The Cuban people is losing their fear and that has the Castro brothers scared to death.

They will continue their brutal repression, because their regime survival depends on it, but I don't have any doubt: Cuba will be free from the brutal tyrants that has been oppressing it for 51 years! ¡VIVA CUBA LIBRE!

 

Brutal repression by Castro's police against the Ladies in White (UPDATED)

 

 Laura Pollán, wife of prisoner of conscience Héctor Maseda and the leader of the Ladies in White, told Spanish newspaper ABC that they will be back on the streets on Thursday, March 18, to mark the 7th. anniversary of the "Black Spring," when 75 dissidents were jailed by the Stalinist regime in Cuba.

"I'll be back even if they kill me," Pollán told ABC.

March 17 - Cuban police grabbed members of the opposition group "Ladies in White" by their hair, dragged them into a bus and drove them away to break up a protest march on Wednesday.

The white clothes the women traditionally wear were smeared with mud as they resisted policewomen forcing them into a bus. Government protesters shouted insults at them for the second day in a row. 

The march was the third this week by the Ladies in White who are protesting the 2003 imprisonment of their husbands and sons, most of whom are still in jail. 
The seventh anniversary of the crackdown, known as the "Black Spring," is Thursday, when the women said they will march again. 

On Wednesday, they attended a mass in the working class neighborhood of Parraga and began walking toward the nearby home of dissident Orlando Fundora, who began a hunger strike last week. 

As the 30 or so women walked along carrying flowers, mobs under the direction of Cuba's state security began yelling. "Worms, get out of here. Viva Fidel! Viva Raul!."

The Spanish newspaper ABC reports that many of those in the pro-Castro mob were military men and women dressed in civilian clothes.

For their part, the women shouted "Freedom" and "Zapata lives." Orlando Zapata Tamayo, an imprisoned dissident died from an 85-day hunger strike on February 23 and has become a rallying point for Cuba's opposition. His mother, Reyna Tamayo, took part in the march.

Read more

 

Dr. Darsi Ferrer could be sentenced to 8 years in jail

July 29 - El Nuevo Herald reports today that the family of jailed dissident Dr. Darsi Ferrer was informed that he will be charged with actions against the regime and with receiving stolen property and could receive a sentence of 8 years in jail.

The "receipt of stolen property" refers to two bags of cement and two aluminum windows that Darsi had bought and had at his home, but that according to the police he didn't have the "proper documentation" for those items.

As I reported previously, when I last spoke with Darsi on Sunday July 12 after he was released from his first arrest, he told me that the police had stolen 2 windows, construction material and some iron bars that he had bought and was planning to use to better secure his home.

"This is all a show. They first beat him and now they want to charge him," his wife Yusnaimi Jorge Soca told El Nuevo.

Elizardo Sánchez, President of the Cuban Human Rights Commission and National Reconciliation, told the paper that the "real objective was to take Darsi out of circulation, because some of his actions were beginning to take hold. No one, not even the government, would believe the stolen property accusations."

"He is being accused of things that are considered minor and if this really goes to trial and he receives a jail sentence, it would be a real scandal," Sánchez told El Nuevo.

However, the fascist regime in Cuba is not concerned about another scandal. For 50 years they have been jailing, torturing and murdering innocent Cubans, while the whole world looks the other way.

Darsi is currently on a hunger strike at the Valle Grande prison near Havana, to protest for his unjust arrest.

 

Photos of Dr. Darsi Ferrer after the police beating of last Thursday night

July 14 - Dr. Darsi Ferrer sent  me these photos on Tuesday, taken after his arrest last week.

They show the marks on his face and other parts of his body after the beating by Castro's thugs.

The reason? Dr. Ferrer and his wife had asked a group of friends to join them for a walk on Havana's Malecón.

The Cuban regime is paranoid about any group of people getting together.

They think that the situation can get out of hand, like it occurred a few years ago in the "Maleconazo."

Some of the photos also show the damage that the thugs from Cuba's State Security caused in Darsi's home.

The front door was ripped apart and two of the window frames in the house were stolen.

There is also a photo of the Medical Certificate signed by the doctor at the hospital where Darsi went after he was released..

You can see more information on my post of last Sunday which appears below.

 

Dr. Darsi Ferrer, his wife and several dissidents severely beaten by Castro's state security (2nd UPDATE)

Dr. Ferrer and his wife Yusmaini being harassed by mobs organized and controlled by the Castro regime

The same thugs who attacked Dr. Ferrer and his wife, also attacked foreign journalists who were trying to cover the protest.

WANTED

The incredible brutality of the Cuban regime

Yuri Martinez Sanchez

This photo was sent on Thursday, September 20, by Dr. Darsi Ferrer, Director of the Juan Bruno Zayas Center for Health and Human Rights.

The young man in the photo is Yuri Martinez Sanchez, 34 years old, who is suffering from AIDS.

Martinez Sanchez has been arrested three times for what is known in Cuba as "peligrosidad social," (social hazard) that allows the Cuban regime to send innocent people to jail just because it considers that they may be "inclined" to commit a crime in the future.

On August 21, his birthday, Martinez Sanchez was walking on the street of what is known as 'Habana Vieja' (Old Havana) around 2 AM, when a Lada automobile, normally used by Cuba's state security, stopped next to him.

Four people came out of, grabbed him and forcibly threw him inside the car. The kidnappers covered his eyes and tied his hands.

After driving around for a while, he was taken inside a house and left alone in a room for approximately 10 hours.

Later, when his kidnapers returned, they tried to remove a tattoo that he had by placing a hot iron on is forehead while being held down by two of the men. The reason? Martinez Sanchez tattooed the letters 'USA' on his forehead about a year ago to protest for his several arrests.

Afterward, the kidnapers placed Martinez Sanchez back in the car and after a 40 minute drive left him on a highway, far from the city. Before leaving, they untied his hands, but he was told not to remove his blindfold. He was warned that if he continued protesting against the regime, next time they would kill him.

 

This is what happens to you in Cuba for trying to connect to the Internet

Guillermo Fariñas is one of Cuba's most courageous independent journalists. The Castro regime doesn't allow Fariñas to connect to the Internet in order to send his reports about what is happening in the island.

He has held several hunger strikes to demand his right to connect to the Internet, as billions of people all over the world can do, but to no avail.

Fariñas has been the victim of many beatings by Castro's Gestapo. The last one took place just last week when agents of Castro's State Security beat him again.

You can see the results of the beating in the photograph that appears above.

This brutal regime is the one that many nations in Latin America want to imitate. It is hard to imagine how anyone could want to live under a regime that beats its citizens for exercising their right to connect to the Internet or to say what they feel.

 

The atrocities continue 90 miles from US shores

(Picture based on eyewitness accounts)

While one dictator was hanged on Friday night for the atrocities he committed against the Iraqi people during his 23 years as ruler of Iraq, another dictator, not less brutal, is beginning his 48 year of atrocities against the Cuban people, and no one seems to care. Some governments send their physicians and medical equipment to try to save the dictator's life so that he can continue brutalizing the Cuban people, while other politicians travel to Cuba and when they return all they talk about is how much money the states that they represent are losing by not doing business with this mass murderer, who is also known for never paying his bills.

Not one single word about the suffering of the Cuban people. It seems that Cubans are not considered human beings by most of today's world leaders.

In the meantime, Cuban prisoner of conscience and journalist Juan Carlos Herrera Acosta sewed his mouth shut and was believed to continue his action Saturday, December 30, dissidents said, despite pleas from fellow persecuted Christians not to do so.

Herrera Acosta, 40, sewed his mouth Tuesday, December 26, at the maximum security Prison of Kilo 8, in Camaguey, Cuba's largest province, said Juan Carlos Gonzalez Leiva, a blind Christian lawyer and president of the Cuban Foundation for Human Rights (FCDH). He, "sewed his mouth shut to protest the hostile treatment he is suffering at the hands of State Security and Military officers at this penitentiary," said Gonzalez Leiva in a statement obtained by BosNewsLife. "The guards deprive this prisoner of conscience his right to telephone calls and his end of the year family visit is suspended. Herrera Acosta is under continuous psychological persecution, since he is tormented by dangerous common prisoners," he said in remarks released by an underground news agency.

Gonzalez Leiva said Herrera Acosta's "delicate state of health is becoming worse" since he is confined in a cell without his belongings and is reportedly forced to sleep on the floor surrounded by insects and rodents. Dissidents say he is suffering from dystrophy and numerous other ailments, some of them being: heart blockage, vitiligo, high blood pressure, chronic gastritis, and bone disease. Click here for more on this story

Fascist mobs attack dissidents in Havana

A fascist mob of about 200 people, organized and under the direction of the Castro regime, attacked Dr. Darsi Ferrer and a group of other dissidents who were trying to stage a peaceful demonstration in Havana to honor Human Rights Day.

At least three of the dissidents were forcefully pushed into cars and taken to undisclosed locations.

The dissidents were conducting a peaceful demonstration in a Havana park. Among those who were forcefully removed from the park were Dr. Ferrer and independent journalist Carlos Ríos.

Here are some photos of the fascist attack against the peaceful dissidents. Thanks  to Stefania of the Free Thoughts Blog for some of the links

 

A dissident, Carlos Rios, scuffles with a group of fascist thugs organized by the Castro regime, while trying to conduct a peaceful demonstration in Havana on December 10, 2006

Another dissident being attacked by the same group of thugs

Dr. Darsi Ferrer, in the center of the picture wearing a blue t-shirt, was also attacked by the mob

Dissident Carlos Ríos, in the yellow jacket, trying to run away from the fascits mob that attacked him and his fellow dissidents

Dr. Darsi Ferrer, trying to protect his wife Yusnaimy from the the attack of the pro-Castro fascists

Some of the criminal thugs who were organized by the Castro regime to attack the dissidents.

Some of the participants in the fascist mob were visibly drunk. They probably received free rum from the Cuban regime

The brutality of the Castro regime

On October 10, in the province of Villa Clara, fascist mobs, organized, paid and directed by the Castro

regime, attacked Orestes Suárez and his wife Nancy González García when they were on their way to

a meeting of Cuba's Independent Librarians.

The meeting was organized by Cuban dissident Marta Beatriz Roque, who has also been jailed and beaten

on several occasions by Castro's fascist mobs.

The couple was brutally beaten by martial arts experts who belong to Castro's  police force and wear civilian

clothes when they commit these crimes against unarmed and peaceful dissidents.

These photos were taken one week after the beatings!

The only crime committed by the Independent Libraries is to provide books to the Cuban people without

the authorization of the fascist regime.

In any civilized country, the Independent Librarians would be honored and recognized for their work.

In Castro's Gulag, the Independent Librarians have to risk their lives in order to do their labor of love.

In 2003 several of these unknown heroes were sentenced to long jail terms, together with journalists

and dissidents in what is known as "the crime against the 75."

Thanks to Stefania and to Bitácora Cubana for the information and the photos.

Click here to visit Bitácora Cubana website (Spanish)

 

 

 

A Cuban flag with messages handwritten in blood

A Cuban dissident, Santiago Valdeolla Pérez, used his own blood to write these messages while in

prison. "The fatherland belongs to all of us" - "For Cuba it is time" - "Lets open the door"

"Long live the APPSC (The Assembly to Promote a Civil Society in Cuba) - "Long live a free and

democratic Cuba"

The flag was sent to Marta Beatriz Roque, one of Cuba's best known dissident and a director

of the APPSC.

Santiago Valdeolla is a pacifist whose only crime is to ask for democratic changes in Cuba. He is

35 years old and is still in jail. In April of this year his mother, Gladys Perez, denounced that her son

received a brutal beating while at the Taco Taco prison. In addition, the religious literature that he

was keeping at his cell was removed; the food that his family had brought to him in the last visit was

confiscated by the prison guards. A bucket that he had in his cell and that was used to carry water in

order to bath, was also taken away by Castro's prison guards.

Gladys Perez also has another son, Emilio Leyva, who is currently at the Kilo 5 1/2 prison in Pinar del Rio.

Believe it or not, this is happening 90 miles from our shores and in the XXI Century!

Click here to visit the official site of the Assembly to Promote Civil Society in Cuba'

 

The Havana riots of 1994: How Castro used the fast response brigades to stop them

At the end of 1993, there were several anti-Castro protests in Cuba, the most noticeable ones occurred

in Regla and Cojímar, near Havana.

Then, on August 5, 1994, several thousand Cubans staged a huge protest in Havana's Malecon, and for

a few hours it seemed that the regime was in real danger.

Many of those Cubans who took part in the protests said later that this was the first time that they had

really felt free, since Castro came to power.

The protests began in front of the Deauville Hotel, near the Malecon. The hotel was heavily damaged

because it was a symbol of the tourism apartheid that Cubans have been suffering for many years.

The protest extended to Parque Central and the Paseo del Prado (Prado Promenade.)

Many storefronts were damaged by the protesters.

The regime ordered the "fast response brigades," groups of thugs armed with chains and sticks to

attack the unarmed protesters. These groups, known as the Blas Roca brigades, are members of Cuba's

state security dressed in civilian clothes that are organized, controlled and mobilized by the Castro

regime. This way, Castro can later say that it was "an spontaneous reaction by the people against a group

of  traitors who were working for the imperialists."

A Cuban general, who was on duty and the time and later defected, was interview a few weeks ago

and he said that the regime was ready to order soldiers into the streets if the brigades had not been

able to stop the protests.

In the following set of photos you can see part of what happened on that day.

The Deauville Hotel, where the riot began, had several of its windows broken by the protesters

Several of the shops near the Malecon were also damaged

Another of the stores that was damaged

The trucks of the "fast response brigades" parked along the Malecon getting ready to enter into action against the protesters

A group of Cuban agents dressed in civilian clothes ready to be transported to the site of the protests

Trucks carrying the brigade members being mobilized to the site of the protest

Police and army trucks waiting outside the protest area

Castro's thugs can run, but they can't hide

Those criminals who are terrorizing peaceful dissidents in Cuba need to know that they will be identified

and their names will be made public. And when Cuba is free, these thugs will have to respond for what

they have done.

According to the Castro regime, these thugs are regular people who do these acts on their own and have

no connection to the Cuban government. But that is another lie, as can be seen here in this photo taken by

international journalists during one of the 'actos de repudio' against Cuban dissident Vladimiro Roca.

Two of those yelling insults in front of Mr. Roca' home are clearly identified:

Jesús Prieto Medina. Is a delegate to the so called 'Asamblea National del Poder Popular' (Cuba's National

Assembly) whose president is Ricardo Alarcon.  This fascist thug is supposed to represent Pinar Del Rio.

He is also a member of other organizations that are part of Cuba's Communist Party.

This woman is Nidia Diana Martinez Pití. She is, believe it or not, director of the William Soler

Pediatric Hospital! She is also a member of the Cuban Federation of Women and a delegate to the

National Assembly. She was born in the city of Holguín.

 

Humberto Perugoria, a dissident who has been terrorized by these paid mobs has sent a list with the

name and addresses of many of those who have participated in these brutal acts against him and his

family. Click here to see the list

 

Read the letter from the young daughter of a political prisoner to dictator Castro

Sahilí Navarro Alvarez is the daughter of Felix Navarro Rodríguez, a Cuban dissident who

is currently in one of Castro's jail after being sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Click here to read the letter from this courageous young woman to the dictator that is

keeping her father in jail. She quotes from Castro's letters when he was jailed during the

Batista regime and the difference between the way Castro was treated after an armed attack

against a government garrison and how he now treats those who peacefully oppose his regime.

 

Castro's deaths

Watch this video with Maria C. Werlau, President of the Free Society Project, Inc. and Dr. Armando

Lagos director of The Cuban Archives who have been working to document all the victims caused by

the Castro regime.   The video is in Spanish and is produced and directed by Eduardo A. Palmer.

Click here to see it

 

Watch the video "The tortures of Castro"

Directed by Luis Guardia, produced by Pedro Corzo and coordinated by Francisco Lorenzo.

In Spanish with English subtitles.

Listen to the testimonies of those who have suffered under this brutal regime.

Courtesy of the Cuban American National Foundation

Click here to see this video

 

 

During the Batista dictatorship, there were 11 prisons in Cuba. Now, as can be seen on the

above map, there are over 300! The entire island is surrounded by prisons!

The questions are: Why so many prisons in a country where everyone is supposed to be equal?

Why so many prisons in a country where the people are in charge?

Why so many prisons in a country that for 46 and a half years has been 'educating' the 'new man'

that is supposed to be like Che?

Why so many prisons in a country where 99.9999% of the people 'vote' in favor of the dictator for life?

 

 "LA CABAÑA," THE MILITARY FORTRESS WHERE THE ARGENTINEAN MERCENARY CHE GUEVARA

 COMMITTED MOST OF HIS CRIMES

 

One of the cells where political prisoners were held. More than a dozen of political prisoners were normally held in each one of these cells

Two more views of the inside of the prison

Political prisoners on the outside patio of the prison

The 'toilet' that the prisoners had to use

The infamous 'paredon' (the wall). Hundreds of political prisoners were shot against that wall on orders of Che Guevara

 

         

One of the cells known as 'gavetas' (drawers) where prisoners had to spend most

of their time lying down because the roof was too low for them to standup

Another cell, this one in Manzanillo, that also had a very low ceiling and didn't allow\the prisoners to stand.

Between 10 and 15 political prisoners were kept in cells like these for six or more months.

The space between the small wall and the back of the cell was used by the prisoners to defecate and urinate

since there were no toilet facilities in these cells.

 

 

Three members of Castro's

police arresting a woman

dissident WHO IS BLIND!

                                             

 

 

 

                                             

                                    

                                    Three more dissidents being arrested by Castro's Gestapo

                                        

Pro-Castro mobs attacking peaceful protesters with sticks and iron bars. As it always happens in Cuba,

the attackers have immunity and remain free while those who are attacked and injured are arrested.

 

Meet Juan Carlos Leiva, he is a Cuban dissident who is blind and that the Cuban regime

put in jail for demonstrating in support of other political prisoners.

Here is what Amnesty International had to say about his case:

Amnesty International is reiterating its concern for the health of Juan Carlos Leiva, a

blind 37-year old lawyer, held in Holguín prison in Holguín province, Cuba. Juan Carlos

Leiva reportedly weighs approximately 45 kilos following a (partial) fast from 4 September

until 25 December 2002. Amnesty International is also concerned that Juan Carlos Leiva

could be maltreated. On one occasion he reportedly was left in the interrogation chamber

and, despite being blind, had to find his own way back to his cell, bumping into obstacles.

He has also reportedly been denied the use of a cane.

Furthermore, he stated that food and water caused a burning sensation en route in his

digestive system, which should be investigated. Juan Carlos Leiva’s his wife, Maritza

Calderín, and his brother José have also said to have been harassed and threatened with

imprisonment.
The incredible thing is that this brutal regime still has supporters here in the US and in

many free countries of the world! Shame on them!!

                 

       The infamous mud-wall cells (celdas tapiadas) at Combinado del Este Prison in East Havana,

       where hundreds of political prisoners are still being tortured and held in complete isolation.

      

Here is a report from Human Rights Watch about Castro's Gulag:

"Like Cuba's general prison population, political prisoners frequently suffer dramatic weight loss due to meager food rations, serious and sometimes life-threatening health problems due to insufficient medical attention, and abuses at the hands of guards or other inmates. But political prisoners also encounter problems unique to their status as non-violent activists, for holding anti-government views or for criticizing human rights violations in the prisons. Every political prisoner we spoke to stressed that Cuba's confinement of non-violent prisoners with prisoners convicted for violent crimes, often in maximum-security facilities with Cuba's most hardened criminals, is degrading and dangerous. Prison authorities refuse to acknowledge political prisoners' distinct status and punish them for refusing to participate in political reeducation, not wearing prison uniforms, or denouncing human rights abuses in the prisons. Guards restrict political prisoners' visits with family members and subject relatives to harassment. Prisoners' relatives also face government intimidations outside the prison walls. Before trial, many Cuban political prisoners routinely spend several months to more than a year in pretrial detention, often in isolation cells. Following conviction, they face additional punitive periods in solitary confinement. The government also crushes free expression inside the prison walls with criminal charges and prosecutions of previously-convicted prisoners who speak out about inhumane prison conditions and treatment. Cuban police or prison guards often heighten the punitive nature of solitary confinement with additional sensory deprivation, such as completely blocking all light from entering a cell, blocking ventilation, removing beds or mattresses, seizing prisoners' clothes and belongings, forbidding prisoners from communicating with one another, or restricting food and water beyond the already meager prison rations. Prison and police officials also disorient prisoners by leaving lights on in cells for twenty-four hours a day, incorrectly setting the time on clocks, or incessantly playing loud music. Many prisoners said that their discomfort was aggravated by extreme heat and swarms of mosquitoes biting them in the tightly closed cells. Experts in treating torture survivors recognize these as methods of physical and psychological torture."

   

Boniato Prison in Eastern Cuba is another prison where political prisoners are still being kept in the most inhuman

conditions.

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