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"Pieces of the Island"-An English Translation
Letter from Ivonne Malleza, From ‘Manto Negro’ Prison
January 12, 2012Posted by on
Via Martha Beatriz Roque and the Network of Cuban Community Communicators:
These are some paragraphs from a letter penned by Ivonne Malleza Galano from her jaill cell in the Western Prison for Women, better known as ‘Manto Negro’ (which, literally translated, means ‘Black Cloak’). The letter was written on January 10th, 2012:
“I do not know if this will serve as a denouncement. Considering what I have seen in my cell, living conditions are disastrous. Jailed women must shower with cold water (even during these winter days), and they are given no rights to heat it up. The food is horrible and, most of the times, in horrible conditions. Many times, we are not given our medications or they take up to two days to give them to us. And they really punish you. The guards do not give you a mattress until it’s 6 pm, and then they snatch it from you at 6 am, along with bedsheets and all. Even if you are very cold or have pains they do not give it to you, emphasizing that it is a punishment cell. They maintain everything like that for 10 days until they finally give it to you but the rest of the conditions are still precarious.
Although I do not know much about denouncements, I must tell you that in the cell, one is only given 5 minutes to make a phone call, without the right to call again, even if its a family member. There is no television. You are locked in the cell at all times, amid the humidity and the freezing cold all over your body. On the outside, you can see male prisoners working and they themselves have said that the treatment and punishment is harsher for women than for men.
As for the penal area, I can’t say much. But the bit that I did see was very similar, for the exception that you have a bit more ‘liberty’, but conditions are horrible as well, as prisoners who have been there for years have said. I have tried to speak to some of these prisoners when they let us go outside to get sun and I’ve tried to take down their names to put a source to everything I say, but they do not dare to give their names, for they are very afraid that measures will be taken against their families.
A woman cannot live amid these horrid life conditions in prison“.
- Ivonne Malleza, January 10th 2012
Malleza has been imprisoned since November 30th- for 6 weeks now- for the simple act of protesting publicly in a centric park of Havana, where a group of dissidents shouted that the Cuban people were hungry, tired, and desperate for freedom. Malleza has been on and off carrying out hunger strikes while in captivity, though as of now she is not. However, her husband Ignacio Martinez, also imprisoned since November 30th, just declared on Thursday, January 12th that he had initiated a hunger strike in demand for his liberation, as well as that of his wife and Isabel Haydee Alvarez, a Cuban citizen not affiliated to any opposition group who simply joined in the protest of the 30th.
FREEDOM NOW, for these 3 Cuban political prisoners and ALL Cuban political prisoners!