Torture of women prisoners
Juan Carlos González
Leiva, State Security Prison. Holguín,
Cuba. October 27, 2003.
The Cuban Foundation for Human Rights reports
the agonizing conditions of terror and torture
suffered by women detained at this penitentiary,
a unit of Cuban State Security in the province
of Holguin, Cuba.
Day and night, the screams of tormented
women in panic and desperation who cry for
God's mercy fall upon the deaf ears of prison
authorities. They are confined to narrow
cells with no sunlight called "drawers"
that have cement beds, a hole on the ground
for their bodily needs, and are infested
with a multitude of rodents, roaches, and
These female prisoners lack all sort of
necessary personal possessions and almost
always have no water, even for bathing,
often drinking this precious liquid full
of insects. The food distributed to them
is terrible, smells rotten, and is stored
in receptacles lacking in hygiene. Even
prison officials have complained of the
small quantities served.
In these "drawers" the women
remain weeks and months. When they scream
in terror due to the darkness (blackouts
are common) and the heat, they are injected
sedatives that keep them half-drugged.
They are supervised by men who personally
administer the feminine products they need
and who so often open these "drawers"
without respecting their privacy.
One female prisoner cried out, "get
me out!", "get me out, I'm suffocating!",
and an official called Marino replied: "stick
your nose out through a hole and shut up!"
If anyone in the penitentiary protests
out loud, they are taken to assigned punishment
cells where they must abide by a ruthless
Testimony provided by:
Juan Carlos González Leiva
Blind lawyer in prison and President of
the Cuban Foundation for Human Rights
Provided via telephone from Cuba by
Maritza Calderin, wife of Juan Carlos Gonzalez
Address: Honorato del Castillo # 154, entre
Republica y Cuba, Ciego de Avila, Cuba.
Tel: + 53-33-222235
Taped, transcribed and translated to English:
Coalition of Cuban-American Women/LAIDA