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"Pieces of the Island"-An English Translation
Category Archives: Jorge Felix Otero Morales
January 28, 2012Posted by on
From the prison of maximum severity in Camaguey, “Kilo 8″, the dissident prisoner Jorge Felix Otero Morales denounces the torture tactics applied recently against two common prisoners. Though these two men are not locked behind bars for political motives, the brutal methods which they are treated with constitute serious violations of their basic human rights. This information has been provided courtesy of independent journalist and Lady in White Caridad Caballero Batista:
Massive protests in the maximum severity prison Kilo 8, a penitentiary where horror, torture, and death prevail
(Camagüey, January 17th 2012). This past 17th of January at 10:20 AM, the common prisoners Reyneiro Gonzalez (34 years of age) and Yasmany Lara Pomares (24 years of age) were victims of cruel torture methods at the hands of the repressive Kilo 8 prison guards. Both these men are serving sentences in the punishment regiment.
Reyneiro was sleeping in cell number 27 in the punishment regiment when a group of prison guards barged in the cell to suddenly carry out a search, with the intent of taking a few writings he had, which consisted of denouncements against a group of prison functionaries who had committed acts of torture against defenseless prisoners. The guards who carried out the search were Luis Chosa and Julio Garcia Torres- alias ‘The Delegate’- who shattered a small box which Reyneiro was planning to send to his young daughter. This led the prisoner to verbally protest in front of the guards.
The functionaries Chosa and Garcia Torres, in reaction to the protests of Reyneiro, handcuffed him with his hands towards his back and forcefully took him to the punishment galley, where they sprayed his eyes with pepper spray and beat him all over his body with sticks. In the face of such a cruel action, the penal population was moved and anti-government protests quickly began to spring up. Shouts of “Down with torture”, “Down with the manipulative military regime”, and “down with the Cuban military dictatorship”.
In light of these protests, Luis Chosa and ‘The Delegate’ took the prisoner Yasmany Pomares out of his solitary confinement cell because he was joining in on the protests. They also pepper sprayed him in the eyes, and beat him all over his body. Both prisoners tortured by the prison guards were snatched of all their clothes and then handcuffed with their feet and hands tied back and left in other solitary confinement cells. The verbal protests increased and various prisoners started hunger strikes. There were more than 60 prisoners refusing food in a form of protest against the impunity enjoyed by soldiers and guards. The tortured captives were taken out of their dungeons and sent to isolated cells where they handcuffed once again.
It is important to point out the personality of the guard Julio Garcia Torres- ‘The Delegate’. This functionary from the Order of the Interior in Kilo 8 Prison was previously delegate of the Popular Power sector in Mias, a municipality of Camaguey. He is one of the most cruel uniformed officials who carry out a series of torture methods against defenseless prisoners. The Cuban government is well aware of such cases.
The Cuban regime promotes human rights in the internal issues of other countries while they hide their countless crimes, tortures, and acts of terror. Reyneiro is serving a 60 year sentence, as he is accused of assassinating two members of the Communist Party of Cuba. Yasmany Pomares is serving 4 years for a case of evasion.
Jorge Félix Otero Morales
Human Rights Defender, Camaguey
January 17th, 2012
January 20, 2012Posted by on
Banished in solitary confinement in a punishment cell in the maximum severity prison Kilo 8 of Camaguey, the dissident prisoner condemned to a life sentence, Jorge Felix Otero Morales, has chosen to use his scarce phone minutes- a monitored privilege which he does not always have access to- to denounce the horrific situation which Cuban political prisoners and common prisoners must go through in that penitentiary. This Tuesday, January 17th, the Lady in White and independent journalist Caridad Caballero Batista, who focuses much of her efforts on shedding light on the situation of Cuban political prisoners , established communication with Otero Morales. The Cuban prisoner took advantage of his scarce minutes to denounce the continuous repressive tactics practiced by State Security to manipulate news dealing with the Cuban opposition, impeding much news from coming out to the public light.
“They are only giving me 10 minutes“, hurriedly explained Otero Morales, “there is a re-educator from the regime right outside my cell, he is carrying out the orders of State Security“, added the prisoner, explaining that the same official is the one in charge of snatching telephones from prisoners when their communication minutes come to an end (and in many cases even before).
Otero Morales denounces that a “tactic of State Security is to use one of their own, usually a woman” to pretend to be an independent journalist or a dissident, communicating with prisoners who are allowed some phone time. “That is why many denouncements and news reports are not coming out, because Cuban Intelligence is diverting all the information coming from prisoners“, he expressed.
Otero added that the manipulative measure is not only applied in Kilo 8, but in countless prisons throughout the island. “There are cases in which State Security answers the telephone and pretends to be a dissident, looking for information… the goal is to create suspicion and divisions amongst the opposition“. As is expected, the phone calls are constantly monitored and, according to Morales, in some cases the agents pretending to be dissidents tell the prisoners they are being recorded by radio programs such as Radio Marti when in reality they are simply spending their phone minutes. “State Security uses this method so that the testimonies of torture and inhumane treatment do not reach the ears of the opposition and those many other people who tend to the cases of these men and women who suffer under this dictatorial regime“, affirmed Otero.
Jorge Felix Otero, whom is condemned to a life sentence, also transmitted another message to Caridad Caballero Batista: “This is a year of jubilee, where the church has announced reconciliation and love for Cuba but here in the prisons the reality is the opposite. Here they continue to torture prisoners, we keep being harassed, we don’t have help and we are threatened physically and psychologically“.
Here audio declarations of Otero here (in spanish):
Caridad Caballero added that Felix Otero is the same prisoner who helped pass the information given by Orlando Zapata Tamayo when the latter was on hunger strike. In addition, explains Batista, Otero also joined other prisoners in a hunger strike in solidarity with Zapata and was the same prisoner to which Zapata gave a bag of food to hand out amongst the prisoners. Caridad Caballero also highlighted the difficulties which Otero goes through just to make a phone call, considering that in his punishment cell everything is slid under his cage, even his food. In the case of the phone, the guards monitor every word the prisoner speaks and they confiscate the phone whenever they decide.
This report made possible by dissident Caridad Caballero Batista.