It is so easy to end up in prison, so short the road leading to a cell, we are all—potentially—convicts who pace the penitentiaries. A piece of beef bought in the black market, a couple sacks of cement purchased from an informal vendor, a piece of paper printed and distributed among a group of friends, or a furtive meeting to talk about the future, could lead us to these low-ceilinged prisons, concrete columns and photos of martyrs in the dining room. Freedom is usually considered an abstract concept, difficult to define or represent, a matter for philosophers; the prison, in contrast, is a thing of bricklayers, ironworkers and locksmiths. It is relatively easy to build a prison, what is hard is to outline the contours of freedom.
P.S. Here are some photos of the walls surrounding the Canaleta prison, in Ciego de Ávila. I have several friends there, mostly independent journalists imprisoned since the Black Spring of 2003. Some of them dictate by telephone to various bloggers—such as Claudia Cadelo, Iván García, Reinaldo Escobar and me—news that we post on the Internet. Which makes me think that there are no bars enclosing opinion and that cyberspace has the capability—also—to slip between the bricks and mortar of these dismal places.