Fear is much greater than pain


Image: Millet

In Cuba, during the last 50 years, I believe that the fear has been greater than the pain. And there is no more convincing reason than the last weeks of living here in Section 3 of the Provincial Prison of Canaleta in Ciego de Ávila. It’s also known that tradition is stronger than love, although I believe this adage serves more for those with the souls of slaves and cowards by nature than for courageous men.

The afore-mentioned section in which I reside is no better than the 11 others that exist in this prison with more than 150 men, and we continue to have problems with the telephone service. This benefit, available until 10 pm, offered before the 8th of the current month, now is allowed only from 8 am to 5 pm, because, according to Mayor Orlando Fernández Fernández, Deputy Chief of the unit, some prisoners contacted high-level functionaries at the Ministry of the Interior to complain about unresolved issues in the prison.

Life shows you that if you don’t like soup, you’ll get three bowls. And this saying fits like a ring on a finger to the punishments in our section. Today, July 6, while I was on my way to a doctor’s appointment at Antonio Luases Iraola provincial hospital, the “re-educator” ordered that televisions must be turned off between the hours of 10 am and 6 pm, as a new rule to conserve energy and thus help the country in the campaign of energy saving. Anyone disobeying this order would spend time in his cell, even if he had a good excuse.

Now most of the convicts criticize the order, but they were afraid to tell Joel, the re-educator, to his face. If they come and ask me, “Political teacher, tell us what to do now,” I have no other option but to write this commentary.

To conclude, I must add that for the five barracks in our section, the troughs where we bathed at 1 pm and collected water to flush the furrows we use as a toilet, have been drained. Water is piped in only at 7:30 pm and at 6 am. Consequently, there is a bad smell in the bath, and the flies are our faithful companions along with the terrible food.

As a child of God, I can only pray that we don’t fall victim to some contagious disease, so common this time of year.


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