In a letter dated September 3, 1981, the claimant reported the following in reply to
the Secretariat's questions:
As you are officially aware, in November 1979 I presented a written denunciation
to your prestigious agency on the inhumane ill-treatment that Eduardo had been receiving daily for
15 years in the gloomy Cuban prisons.
In this present document, I formally confirm the denunciation in every respect, and
I want to point out the extraordinary fact that, after 15 serving consecutive years, the full sentence
imposed on April 11, 1966 by Military Tribunal No 1 of Havana, the prisoner was not
released on April 11 of this year, as he should have been. Without prior trial, he was notified orally by the
penitentiary authorities that his sentence had been extended indefinitely. This is the practice
usually followed for persons arrested as "intransigent" political prisoners, identified as those having the
courage and public spirit to refuse to accept the plans for re-education imposed by the
communist government of Cuba.
Since October of last year, Eduardo and other political prisoners have been
allowed only one visit from their relatives, and he, together with his other companions now incarcerated in
the Puerto Boniato Prison in the Oriente Province, Cuba, are subjected to barbaric physical and
mental mistreatment, harsh inspections, and savage beatings, to the extreme that they are left
naked, without medical care, in walled cells where not a single ray of sun can penetrate.
The treatment received by political prisoners in the Puerto Boniato Prison has been
so inhumane that they several times protested manfully by declaring a hunger strike, one of them
lasting 33 days from October 31 to December 3 of last year. As may naturally be supposed, this is
deadly dangerous to men who are undernourished and whose health is already broken by so many
years of incarceration.
Eduardo suffers from serious and painful wounds on both hands, as a consequence
of a criminal and cowardly attach on March 22, 1973 by the red militia, armed with fixed
when he was imprisoned in the colonial fortress of La Cabaña. This has disabled him for
On September 19, 1981, the claimant sent to the Commission a letter published in
the newspaper "Diario de las Américas" of September 23, 1981, in reference to the
"intransigent" political prisoners incarcerated in Boniato, where the victim Eduardo Capote was also confined.
The letter reads:
I begin by telling you that we are not at all well, and we are very concerned about
our situation which, although it seems unbelievable, is becoming increasingly worse, and the Ministry
(of the Interior) never lets up. Hence, in view of so many irregularities, I am going to report to
you a number of acts that have befallen us since we were incarcerated in this prison with its dark and
gloomy cells. Since our arrival here on July 24, 1979, we have suffered countless measures that
are violating our most elemental human rights more and more. These include:
Being located at a distance of 1,000 kilometers from our beloved families, many
of whom are old and sick. Consequently, many of us have been visited only every 3, 4 or 6 months;
what is more, some inmates have not had even one visit in two years, which have been what is
which have been so long and hard that they seem like centuries totally deprived of that right.
Also, upon our arrival, we had to go on hunger strikes because of our living
conditions: the inadequate medical care, scarce and extremely bad food, no patio, and
therefore no sun--in short, every facet of our human existence. These measures became gradually
worse and worse, until at length, in November 1980, they were abusive and intolerable. We
choose that date because it was then that the second stage of our prolonged torment began.
At dawn on November 7, 1980, escape, which was three inmates made an
attempt to scape, which was frustrated at the outset. There were caught barely a few meters from the
building where we are now incarcerated, 4-D. This action was taken by the authorities of the
Ministry as an excuse to precipitate their ultra-repressive policy against us. At 1:15 that same
morning, all of us were imprisoned in a type of dining room and there began the inspection.
They took almost everything away. They fed us neither breakfast nor lunch. The inspection lasted until
2:15 p.m. of that same day, the 9th. At that hour they tried to compel us to strip ourselves like
commoners (common prisoners). We refused, and they therefore began to beat Luis M.
Zuñiga Rey, Roger Reyes Hernández, and Servando Infante Jiménez, who were consequently
wounded and later taken to the hospital. Because the food was so bad that day, we refused to eat it. Thus, three of us were without food. The common prisoners of corridor 4-B were moved and they began to wall up
the cells of these corridors. As the cells were walled up, we were led into them by threes. This
began on the morning of the 12th and ended at midday the same day. We remained on a hunger strike in
this corridor 4-B until December 12.
That same day, the penitentiary authorities agreed to grant us general rights and
living conditions as human beings, and also to move us from the corridor ln the next 72 hours. Also,
they left the doors of the cells open for us. Ultimately, they did not live up to their work; rather, they
made our living conditions worse. This reveals the cowardly and vile nature of those governing
I must emphasize that six prisoners, Eloy Gutiérrez Menoyo, Ernesto Díaz
Rodríguez, Ramón Méndez Pimental, Julio Ruíz Pitaluga, Sergio Montes de Oca Gil,
and Juan Evelio Hernández Ramírez continued the strike, asking to be transferred to Havana. This
made us extremely anxious, since every day we expected a fatal denouement. Thank God this did not happen and
the strike ended on April 9, 1981.
Since May 1980, we had no medical care, since they wanted us to undress for the
inspection that we have to undergo in order to be hospitalized, and this we did not accept. On
January 12, 1981, they authorized visits, because our relatives were extremely worried about the
situation. During that visit, our relatives, many of them old, were made to leave their coats off
during the inspection that they had to undergo. That was a terribly cold day. Men are able to do anything
when driven by hatred. But as you well know, my friend, our relatives were so glad to see us that
they put up with anything.
The day after the visit, January 13, they searched us and again locked us up in the
walled cells. The situation worsened day by day. The February visit took place in a loaded
atmosphere and under tight supervision. In that month, a new element was brought into play:
Oscar Rodríguez Terrero ("Little Napoleon") completed his sentence but was not
released. The same was to happen with prisoners who were to complete their sentences in the future. A list of these
prisoners will be added at the end. The inspections, refusals of food, lack of medical care, etc. etc.
One day before the March 11 visit, prison administration authorities appeared in
our corridor. They informed our representatives that in the future, in order to receive visits, packages,
medical care, and the like, we had to dress in the regulation uniform for all prisoners: blue. We
were being officially stripped of our yellow clothing and left in our underpants. Many of our relatives
made the trip of 1,000 kms ln vain. On March 30, Alberto Jané Padrón
disappeared. Within a few
days we learned that he was in the security cells of the state and that he had been placed there
along with common criminals. He went on hunger strike and they shortly put him in a separate cell.
They returned him to our corridor on May 5.
These first months of 1981 passed under increasing stress inspections and
companions who continue on hunger strikes and are in very bad shape. Also, steel plates were
affixed to the cell doors of corridor 4-D.
On June 1, 1981, we were moved from corridor 4-B to 4-D, under the same
conditions that I have already described to you. On June 19, we were searched
and stripped of the belongings that still remained to us. They took, among other things, medicines, ball-point pens, photographs, and even the spoons that we used to eat with. As of that day (June 19) and up to the present (June 28), we have had only one dinner (June 25) and one lunch (June 27). The events of these last few days are sufficiently eloquent to give you an idea of our present situation.
Moreover, prisoners who have specific diets for different illnesses--diabetes, ulcers, heart ailments, etc--have been deprived of these diets; instead, they are fed real garbage.
In addition to all this, we do not know what the government's intentions toward us
are, and this makes our present situation uncertain and very threatening.
As you well know I have never been inclined to exaggerate, but I do assure you
that if the government continues its present policy towards us, the results of it are bound to be fatal.
The government hates us, and we know what can come of a policy based on this feeling. It is
impossible to conceive of a government that after twenty-three years in power treats its prisoners as unfairly
and inhumanely as this one--particularly when a considerable group of us have spent 20 years in
prison, some more than 20.
I don't think that any government receives medals for treating defenseless men
cruelly; rather than enhancing its grandeur, it is diminished, it becomes dwarfed. But what can be
expected of men who harbor hatred in the.ir hearts, of men whose souls are gnawed by moral
leprosy. Oh, my friend, how unc.ertain is our immediate future' What will happen tomorrow? I do
not know, but every day is potentially one of mourning. Do you remember the worst stages of the
forced labor plan on the Isle of Pines? We were put to work, and we did not know if we would
ever return. Add to this 15 more years of prison with its strikes and privations, with a government that
tries to turn brutality into a principle of the state and injustice into a standard of conduct.
Our bodies continue to waste away, but we still have our bones awaiting the claws
of the beasts.
My friend, reading your letter has made me love my compatriots in exile a little
more. I am impressed with the efforts being made there in our behalf. Don't fail to give the good patriots
my greetings. Ever yours.
LIST OF POLITICAL PRISONERS WHO HAVE COMPLETED THEIR PRISON TERMS
HAVE KEN RESENTENCED:
Name Years of Sentence Date
Santos Mirabal Rodríguez Adult age
February 24, 1978
José Oscar Rodriguez T. 20 years February 14,
Héctor Cabrera Torres 20 years March 23,
Eduardo Capote Rodríguez 15 years March
Pedro Santana Camejo 20 years April 7, 1981
Sergio Montes de Oca Gil 20 years April 7, 1981
Manuel Hernández Cruz 20 years May 5, 1981