The Environment of Subjugation

The environment of subjugation was once in an old thick-walled prison like that of the La Cabaña fortress in Havana Bay. A prison that had previously been a military barracks, because both soldiers and inmates suffer similar impediments to behaving like free beings. Both are subject to the shackle, which is imposed as a criminal penalty, or by the power of sergeants and commanders. It would not be surprising if José Martí, instead of writing, “One cannot establish a people, general, as one commands an encampment,” had drawn the comparison with a prison where the citizen is at the mercy of his guards, under the shadow of his keepers.

Now we also have modern prisons, with the same architecture as the high schools in the countryside, but just as atavistic in their methods of subjugation. Rather than thick bars they have lieutenants who lower self-esteem, doctors who aren’t there when needed, and the pressure of a doctrine that blames the accused for not having turned himself into a “New Man.” In many Cuban prisons they try to take away a person’s self-respect. Hence, they must live with their own excrescences and those of their cellmates. The walls of the Manto Negro prison for women, for example, are splattered with tears, blood, fluids and saliva, as well as names and dates, spells, threats and promises.

The bricks of either prison – the ancient or the modern – have been placed so that freedom does not seep through them, so that no crack allows the passage an ounce of optimism. The builders have constructed them from their own phobias, harnessing everything that will create terror. The squalor of a prison is the perverted face of justice and those who erect and maintain certain shadowy prisons in our country have confessed their fear of being human.

Translator’s note:
The narrator in the video is Dania Virgen Garcia. Briefly, she is speaking of women she encountered in the prison where she was sent on April 23. She speaks of women sentenced to ten months for selling nylon shopping bags, cutting themselves, cutting their veins, not receiving medical care or care for mental health conditions, depressed from having to leave their children, and being treated badly by the guards. She says that bit by bit she will tell all the stories from the prison. A series of posts in Laritza Diversent’s blog cover the arrest, trial, and appeal, starting with this one


59 thoughts on “The Environment of Subjugation

  1. 58Barbara Curbelo

    Mayo 18th, 2010 at 10:29

    Those are the Boogiemen castrofascism is appealing to intimidate the Cubans and make them to be afraid of changes…. but….. Dear brigade curbelo….. Cuban people can’t not to read these pages….. so….. why are you wasting your time…… Americans of Florida are the only people that know those names you named….. and they surely will think…. well, if those politicians did it well here, why not will them work well too in their homeland Cuba????….. and surely that they did it well because they were reelected with wide support of the voters despite the millions of dollars that castrofascism spent trying to push those politician out the way of American credits for castro family bank account good development!!!!!

  2. Too many sci-fi films…
    But let’s indulge you for a moment, why didn’t you stay and do what you now expect others to do?
    I suppose that once they are ‘dragged into the streets‘, you don’t want those very same people doing the dragging to take over either, any more than you would want Yoani to have a say, then, or any other ‘dissident‘. You want Lincoln Diaz-Balart to be President, Ileana Vice President, Gloria Estefan Minister of Culture, Rubio Mayor of Cienfuegos…
    That is their destiny, I’m sure.

  3. It is a fact that communist regimes declare war against their own people, and the military regime in Cuba is not an exception. That is the reason for the summary executions, the physical and psychological tortures, the kangaroo trials, and the massive prison systems.

    Fear and intimidation is all that the Tyrannosaurus Rex and his brother can offer the enslaved Cuban people. For how long does the corrupt military dictatorship will be able to continue to do this type of repression before they are dragged by their hair into the streets by the Cuban people?

  4. #55
    And what changed in that infamous military base which Gloria Estefan-Platista called the “only free” territory in Cuba?

  5. The last time that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was allow to visit a Cuba’s prison was July 1959. By contrast, ICRC delegates have regularly visited detainees at the US military detention centre at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and have strongly criticized the absence of a legal framework “that appropriately addresses either the detainees’ status or the future of their detention”. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights too has been denied access repeatedly through the years.

  6. One local human rights organization lists more than 200 political prisoners currently detained in Cuba in addition to as many as 5,000 people sentenced for “dangerousness.” According to the regime Criminal Code “dangerousness” is a “pre-criminal” state in which a person’s behavior suggests that he or she is of the type likely to commit a crime in the future. The Castro brothers’ tyranny has perfected it as a tool of repression.

    Castro brothers and the military/political elite should be sanctioned for this and so many other violations they have been constantly inflicting upon the Cuban population, at the same time that they deceive and laugh at the whole world.

  7. In the next months we will have more news about castrofascism involving in drug trafficing and other corruption cases,

  8. 45Barbara Curbelo

    Mayo 14th, 2010 at 14:26
    Associated Press:
    Bank agrees to forfeit $500 million to US

    Our foolish brigade seems to be in need of get an English language interpretation course….. They are posting news that demonstrates castrofascism is in need of laundry money!!!!!……. why need a country to laundry money????….. Obviously because this country gets money from illegal sources!!!!
    It is not the first time castro regimen is coutgh laundring money and some international bank is fined for being involved in the illegal action.

  9. BBC NEWS:Cuban court quashes dissident Garcia’s jail sentence -Michael Voss-Saturday, 15 May 2010
    A Cuban appeal court has quashed the jail sentence given to dissident journalist Dania Garcia and given her a minor fine instead.

    Ms Garcia, a blogger who writes for US-based opposition websites, had been sentenced to 20 months in jail after a domestic row with her daughter.

    She was charged with abuse of authority for mistreating the 23-year-old, who disapproved of her political activism.

    Human Rights groups said the charges were politically motivated.

    Speaking to reporters on leaving the courtroom, Ms Garcia called the ruling “a victory for the opposition”.

    “I feel that one more time, we will overcome, once again, we the Cuban opposition, the human rights, once again we’re winning and we will continue to win,” she said.

    ‘Sign of the times?’

    Ms Garcia, 41, said she had been prosecuted because she supports the Ladies in White – a group of wives and mothers of dissident men.

    Her arrest came at the same time as a crackdown on the group with an attempt to ban their longstanding weekly marches.

    The authorities later backed down on their attempts to halt the marches – which call for the release of more than 50 dissidents who were given lengthy jail sentences in 2003 – following the intervention of Cuba’s Catholic Church.

    Having started her sentence in the high-security Manto Negro prison on the outskirts of Havana, an appeals court on Friday overturned the conviction, instead fining her 300 pesos ($14; £9.60) – the equivalent of about three weeks’ wages for an average worker.

    Elizardo Sanchez, head of the independent Cuban Human Rights Commission, said the reversal of the prison sentence and allowing the marches to continue was a “sign of the times” indicating that Cuba’s leader are trying to avoid bad press abroad.

    The Cuban authorities deny that the dissidents are political prisoners, calling them mercenaries paid by the United States to undermine the system.

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