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    Abuse In Cuba’s Valle Grande Prison

    Abuse In Cuba’s Valle Grande Prison / 14ymedio, Manuel Morejon
    Posted on January 4, 2016

    14ymedio, Manuel Alberto Morejón, Havana, 30 December 2015 – From
    Havana, the supervisor of the Christian Alliance sent 14ymedio several
    prisoners’ testimonies collected in the Valle Grande prison, which make
    up a small sample of the abuse they are subjected to by the guards.

    On 17 November 2014, at 10:00 am, First Lieutenant Maceo, known as “The
    Lasher,” took the hoses to Roberto Hernandez without caring that he was
    under psychiatric treatment. Hernandez, known as “El Loco,” is 32 and
    lived in Havana’s Plaza district, before entering Valle Grande prison
    where he received the beating.

    Valle Grande belongs to the Department of Penitentiary Establishments of
    the Ministry of the Interior (MININT), and is located in Arroya Arenas
    on the outskirts of Havana. Like all MININT departments, the
    penitentiary has multiple and sophisticated control systems to silence
    complaints coming from the prisoners, or to filter those that suit them.
    But, at times, the voices of the prisoners leak out through the bars to
    describe the realities that are hidden in Cuban jails. Many of them
    relate to the lack of attention to inmates’ health.

    Raul Garcia Ramos, age 55 and a resident of Regla, is another example.
    Despite being ill with cirrhosis of the liver and cancer of the
    esophagus, he was refused medical care. In addition, Garcia has been in
    prison since 2 June 2015, awaiting trail for the alleged crime of “threat.”

    As of 16 December, Hugo Damian Prieto Blanco, age 50, a resident of
    Marianao and an organizer for the Orlando Zapata Tamayo Civic Resistance
    Movement, demanded political prisoner status via a hunger strike. Two
    days after the beginning of his protest, Prieto was transferred to Valle
    Grande and his whereabouts are unknown. The activist, who is diabetic
    and has pancreatic disease, has not been well cared for and also
    demanded better health care for the inmates.

    Far from solving anything, the prisoners’ complaints and demands seem to
    only aggravate their situation. Lamberto Hernandez Planas, 46, a
    resident of the San Miguel del Padron neighborhood in Havana, complained
    about the lack of hygiene to El Niño, the officer guarding the dining
    room, because the food trays were caked with grime. El Niño threatened
    to give him a beating and said that, if he didn’t like the food, don’t
    eat it.

    That day Hernandez went without eating, but his problems go deeper. His
    clinical history, issued by the Combinado del Este National Hospital for
    Inmates, indicates he suffers from peripheral neuropathy, gout, high
    cholesterol, a herniated disc, gastritis, esophagitis, malnutrition and
    low back pain. In this situation, recognized by the prison authorities,
    he requires a special diet that he is not being provided.

    While the beatings of opponents, including the Ladies in White, who
    protest in the streets of Havana find some echo in the international
    press and human rights organizations, little information comes from the
    prisons where the inmates are totally defenseless.

    Source: Abuse In Cuba’s Valle Grande Prison / 14ymedio, Manuel Morejon |
    Translating Cuba –

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