Guantanamo Bay Is Not The Only Cuban Detention Camp
There are more than 200 political prisoners in Cuba, including 23 journalists in jail solely because of their dissident views. Last year, Cuban authorities also arrested and briefly detained more than 1,000 "suspected dissidents."
Ricardo González Alfonso, the Reporters Without Borders correspondent and editor of the magazine De Cuba, was returned to his cell last year after a long spell in the hospital of Havana’s Combinado del Este prison. He was repeatedly denied the right to speak to his children by telephone in December, after being awarded the 2008 Reporters Without Borders journalist of the year prize. Serving a 20-year jail sentence imposed during the 2003 “Black Spring” and now aged 58, González is currently being held in a damp and unhealthy isolation cell in which his health is deteriorating.
Fabio Prieto Llorente, 45, another independent journalist serving a 20-year sentence imposed in March 2003, is also being kept in solitary confinement. Held in El Guayabo prison on the Isle of Youth, where he is from, he has been on hunger strike since 28 January in protest against the harassment to which he has been subjected by the prison’s guards and the State Security (the political police).
Pablo Pacheco Avila, 38, a reporter with the Cooperativa Avileña de Periodistas Independientes who was also sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2003, was transferred from Morón prison to Canaleta prison in the central province of Ciego de Ávila at the start of January. According to a fellow detainee, he was moved because Morón prison needs to be repaired before the UN special rapporteur’s arrival.
Attention holidaymakers: "The strange 'endophobia' displayed in excluding that which is similar, in denying equal rights to your own compatriots, is common on the streets of this island. Among the most intense impressions the city of Santiago de Cuba left me with is precisely that, of not being able to enjoy the same services as foreign tourists."