Ladies in White

Abuse In Cuba’s Valle Grande Prison / 14ymedio, Manuel Morejon
Posted on January 4, 2016

14ymedio, Manuel Alberto Morejón, Havana, 30 December 2015 – From
Havana, the supervisor of the Christian Alliance sent 14ymedio several
prisoners’ testimonies collected in the Valle Grande prison, which make
up a small sample of the abuse they are subjected to by the guards.

On 17 November 2014, at 10:00 am, First Lieutenant Maceo, known as “The
Lasher,” took the hoses to Roberto Hernandez without caring that he was
under psychiatric treatment. Hernandez, known as “El Loco,” is 32 and
lived in Havana’s Plaza district, before entering Valle Grande prison
where he received the beating.

Valle Grande belongs to the Department of Penitentiary Establishments of
the Ministry of the Interior (MININT), and is located in Arroya Arenas
on the outskirts of Havana. Like all MININT departments, the
penitentiary has multiple and sophisticated control systems to silence
complaints coming from the prisoners, or to filter those that suit them.
But, at times, the voices of the prisoners leak out through the bars to
describe the realities that are hidden in Cuban jails. Many of them
relate to the lack of attention to inmates’ health.

Raul Garcia Ramos, age 55 and a resident of Regla, is another example.
Despite being ill with cirrhosis of the liver and cancer of the
esophagus, he was refused medical care. In addition, Garcia has been in
prison since 2 June 2015, awaiting trail for the alleged crime of “threat.”

As of 16 December, Hugo Damian Prieto Blanco, age 50, a resident of
Marianao and an organizer for the Orlando Zapata Tamayo Civic Resistance
Movement, demanded political prisoner status via a hunger strike. Two
days after the beginning of his protest, Prieto was transferred to Valle
Grande and his whereabouts are unknown. The activist, who is diabetic
and has pancreatic disease, has not been well cared for and also
demanded better health care for the inmates.

Far from solving anything, the prisoners’ complaints and demands seem to
only aggravate their situation. Lamberto Hernandez Planas, 46, a
resident of the San Miguel del Padron neighborhood in Havana, complained
about the lack of hygiene to El Niño, the officer guarding the dining
room, because the food trays were caked with grime. El Niño threatened
to give him a beating and said that, if he didn’t like the food, don’t
eat it.

That day Hernandez went without eating, but his problems go deeper. His
clinical history, issued by the Combinado del Este National Hospital for
Inmates, indicates he suffers from peripheral neuropathy, gout, high
cholesterol, a herniated disc, gastritis, esophagitis, malnutrition and
low back pain. In this situation, recognized by the prison authorities,
he requires a special diet that he is not being provided.

While the beatings of opponents, including the Ladies in White, who
protest in the streets of Havana find some echo in the international
press and human rights organizations, little information comes from the
prisons where the inmates are totally defenseless.

Source: Abuse In Cuba’s Valle Grande Prison / 14ymedio, Manuel Morejon |
Translating Cuba –

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