Difficult Day

Difficult Day

During the past few years of my life in captivity, I have had some difficult days…very difficult, I would say, but none like the one this past January 4th.

During the morning hours, the educator from Detachment 3, where I have been living for a year now, told me to get ready to do an X-ray of my thorax. I should point out that this kind of radiography is done within this very prison of Canaleta in Ciego de Avila, and that the doctor, Gisel, whom offers medical assistance to the five men of Offensive number 2 (or in other words, of the cause of the 75 of the Black Spring), had scheduled this test for me ever since the past first day of the month, but for X or Y reason it had not happened yet.

I don’t know why I could foresee a catastrophic outcome waiting for me. It turns out that upon arriving to the penal warehouse the chief of the Detachment, with extreme decency, asked me to put my hands against my back in order to put on the shackles. With some sort of supernatural impulse I responded with a flat-out NO. I am not against putting on the handcuffs, up to now I’ve done so without difficulty; it just so happens that by going downstairs, a simple trip or stumble could disfigure my entire body. Having my hands tied to my back would prevent me from protecting myself from such a fall.

The soldier previously mentioned returned me to the 43rd Galley. I tried to communicate with the doctor, who supposedly responds to our health issues, but such a communication was impossible. Now everything depends on destiny and on my anatomy, for I have been in a severe flue-like state for more than 12 days… I have endured a fever.

What didn’t go through my mind, though, was that the worst was still to come. While the soap operas were playing, I went to look for my mp4 that I had for the purpose of playing mental skill games, listening to some music, and to finish the night delighting myself with pictures of my wife and son, which I jealously treasured within the efficient memory. I was shocked upon noticing the absence of my device when I looked inside my pillow. I searched for it with the help of nearly all the men in the galley, and I don’t doubt that amongst all the helpers may be the malevolent thief.

My sentiments towards such an act are impossible to describe. They have robbed me from photography, which is what I miss the most. In the morning, those who care for me came to the galley and made a calling for the mp4 to be given back to me.

Before finishing this chronicle I want to mention that, although I’m not sure of it I don’t deny that the robbery was orchestrated by the political police- in fact, some of my fellow recluses have suggested this possibility. I cannot deny that whichever guard, for the sake of accumulating points with the intelligence service or to simply comply doing whatever this penal establishment feels like doing, could have lent themselves to carry out such a coarse action. From now on I should be more distrustful. I’ll have to suffer every night upon knowing that I cannot count on the images of my family.

To understand the repression of Cuban prison centers it must be noted that the maximum direction of the country prohibits any of the following items to be entered into jail cells: radios, memory drives, video and photographic cameras, cell phones, DVDs, and anything else that could possibly provide an alternative source to national TV. There is a rule that exists that they know: Information is power. This is the real reason for so many prohibitions. Who knows, maybe that’s also the cause for the robbery of my mp4.

Pablo Pacheco

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