On a day like today, but in 1853, a man was born who later became the Cuban Apostle. That was the birth of our José Martí Perez, who from his early years regarded with horror the evil deeds of those who governed this land. For criticizing their abuses he served time in prison at hard labor, and was expelled from his homeland, which is also ours. From exile he continued his toil for the freedom of Cuba. His tireless work established the Cuban Revolutionary Party and managed to reunite the forces to begin the war necessary to lead, finally and with the help of old friends, to the Republic with a constitution that makes us independent of all foreign domination.
This great man left us a legacy worth following, but Cubans continue to suffer the same chronic disease of despotism. It is time for us to stop jockeying for position. Think of José Martí, fighting alongside those who wished him well or ill, so that Cuba could be free. We must understand that our struggle is against a single evil: the dynastic dictatorship of the Castro brothers. To commemorate the 157th anniversary of the birth of the Apostle, let us unite in his name and in one tight-knit group who are all for victory.
Prisoner of conscience Diosdado González Marrero, from the provincial prison of Pinar del Rio.
Translated by: Tomás A.
On the morning of January 8, the authorities in charge of Canaleta prison in Ciego de Avila called a special meeting of the prison population. As reported by several sources, who requested anonymity, the meeting was chaired by a number of soldiers, including the director, Lt. Col. Reynerio Diaz Betancourt. He acknowledged that Cuba has at least one prison for prostitutes, which in 2009 had more negative incidents than the provincial prison for men.
He also assured us that as of this year homosexuals will not be admitted during family visits if they are not close relatives of prisoners, as it would set a bad example for the inmate population. Elsewhere in his speech, Diaz Betancourt said that during the year-end festivities and the celebration of the anniversary of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, an individual, whom he did not identify, smuggled a subversive video into the prison, in which “a traitor to Communist Party of Cuba and the government, defamed the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz,” in a program broadcast by a South Florida television station.
The Canaleta prison director also said that the person responsible was stripped of his benefits, including the right to continue university studies. He explained that the chief of the prison system has declared that those convicted of crimes against state security, human trafficking, rape, crimes against foreigners, and felony murder, are not entitled to study at the top level, or to receive benefits regulated by the Directorate of Jails and Prisons. He further stated that from now on any radio, DVD, phone, camera or video, and reports of any kind on any media will be confiscated without recourse.
By Pablo Pacheco, Prisoner from The Black Spring in Canaleta Prison, Ciego de Ávila.
Translated by: Tomás A.