Cuba’s forced labor camps
Cuba's "law of dangerousness" is a useful tool for conscription into slave labor.
Workers for the Nomenklatura / Lilianne Ruiz
Posted on August 16, 2013
HAVANA, Cuba, August, www.cubanet.org.- Similar to the theme of Steven
Spielberg’s movie Minority Report, where someone is imprisoned for
crimes they had not yet committed but it was assumed they might commit,
the Cuban Criminal Code devotes several articles to “the state of danger
and measures of security.”
An index of pre-criminal dangerousness is practically nonexistent in the
world. It translates to applying a coercive measure in the present for
something a person “might do” in the future. People call it “the law of
dangerousness.” It’s common to hear, “They applied ‘the danger’ to him.”
Vicente Rodriguez is a former political prisoner who knows the law for
having suffered it firsthand. “Both men and women who are sentenced
under the law of dangerousness, when they get to prison, are sent to the
galleries for 21 days. After that time they are sent to Prison 1580 or
other so-called State ‘settlements’,” he says.
According to Rodriguez, in these “settlements” the prisoners work from
Monday to Sunday, “Building buildings for people in the Ministry (of the
Interior), and other State interests. And with a minimum wage. The
prison has these ‘minimum security’ camps for those charged with
‘danger.’ The ‘danger’ (law of dangerousness) is minimum offense. As
it’s not a crime, you go to prison with a job. As an imprisoned worker.”
Rodriguez says that the law is, “Nothing more than a justification to
find a workforce.” If the prisoner has a good attitude, it’s possible
that a sentence of two years will result in parole after eight months,
or a four year sentence is served in just two years. Analyzing the
phenomenon, it doesn’t seem convenient to leave the barracks empty. “So
if 25 are set free, 25 have to come in. To do the work,” Rodriguez adds.
“A good share of the buildings built after 1959, have been built by
prisoners. Alamar, Barlovento, buildings in Guanabacoa, in Cotorro the
CIMEQ hospital,” says Rodriguez, who claims to have been in the latter
when it was held in Valle Grande in 1983. “There are brigades they take
out and they give them incentives, such as passes to visit their family
every 45 days. If you work hard in the time you’re working, you get a
five-day pass, not three. The slaves are right here.”
In a prosecution for dangerousness, “The person has no right to defend
himself, he has a lawyer who is decorative. It seems that the trial is
already over, you’re penalized because ‘the factors’ [the
investigator/prosecutors] say that you have to be deprived of your
freedom for two years.”
To remove the law of dangerousness from the Penal Code, it is necessary
that the state respect human rights and particularly the right of every
person to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
It’s worth mentioning that in the world there is a post-criminal
dangerousness index, where if a person commits a crime and is found to
be mentally unstable, and so cannot serve a sentence but is potentially
dangerous; it is as if they had already committed a crime as it is
feared they will continue to violate the legal well-being of the
society. In that case, a measure is taken such as placement in a hospital.
Writer Ángel Santiesteban has fallen through the net
Recently, the writer Ángel Santiesteban was transferred from prison
1580, where he was serving a sentence of five years for alleged domestic
violence — which the artist denies — to one of these “settlements.” As
explained above, it is likely that the author of the blog The Children
Nobody Wanted will be used as a construction worker.
Through third parties, his blog is still active from prison, so through
him we could learn about the forced labor caps which are so similar to
the notorious Military Units to Aid Production (UMAP)*, implemented by
the Castro regime its early years.
*Translator’s note: UMAP was a set of forced labor camps where people
the regime considered “anti-social” or “counter-revolutionary” were
incarcerated, including homosexuals, religious believers, and others.
16 August 2013
Source: "Workers for the Nomenklatura / Lilianne Ruiz | Translating