Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. -

February 9, 1999, Cuba Free Press.


HAVANA - After more than eight months of fact-gathering, the political prisoners at the Ariza jail in the province of Cienguegos say the beating there of independent journalist Bernardo Arévalo Padrón on April 11, 1998, was merely one part of a conspiracy among their jailers trying to make use of the non-political prisoners who have been imprisoned for violent crimes.

The dissidents say the plot's purpose is to destroy their unity and spirit in what is known as one of the harshest prisons in the country.

According to their analysis, a key part of the plan was when an apparently common criminal, Lester Miranda Acea distributed "anti-government proclamations," as the authorities call them and the political prisoners were blamed. The prisoners have learned that Miranda really is an agent provocateur.

Another part of the plot was to break up a group of three political prisoners, Bernardo Arévalos Padrón, Augusto César San Martín Albístur and Jorge Félix Canosa in Section 7 by moving the first two to other cells. Bernardo Arévalos was then placed in a cell with Marcos Cordero Nodal, a common criminal who began to try to provoke him into violence for several days until April 11. According to the government regulations on prisons, the criminal should not have been placed in the same cell as a political prisoner.

On that same day, Capt. Hermes Hernández and Lt. René Orlando of the Office of State Security (OSS) joined in the conspiracy by beating Arévalos.

Cordero, meanwhile, was rewarded for his aggression against Arévalos by being given various privileges that immediately sent a signal to other criminals in the prison. From then on, all the criminals knew they could obtain special privileges by attacking the politically incorrect among them.

The ordinary criminals also were encouraged to hate the political prisoners by being told that the monthly visits from relatives were being cut off because of certain actions by the dissidents. In other words, everybody was punished because of the alleged actions of the few.

On April 17 a "subversive note" was found and dissident Canosa was transferred to another cell with implications that he was the note's author. The actual author, the dissidents charge, was the above-noted agent provocateur, Miranda Acea, used inside the Ariza jail by the Technical Investigations Department (DTI) to serve its purposes.

The dissidents charge that the agent is used to stir up trouble between the dissidents and the common criminals, to spy on the activities of the political prisoners, to try to cause friction among the dissidents themselves and to harass them. The political prisoners detected Miranda Acea surreptitiously contacting prison authorities.

They noted that Miranda usually works in preferred positions such as in the kitchen where most of the workers are informants. Miranda has a brother who is an official in the Office of State Security (OSS) in Cienfuegos. The dissidents have noted that Miranda never is punished.

Months have passed by since the Miranda mascarade was discovered, thus fulfilling the biblical saying that there is nothing hidden under the light of the sun.

Meanwhile, many of the so-called common prisoners each day find themselves approaching the "politicos," the politically incorrect, without rancor, apparently considering them honorable people and even being attracted by the strength of will and character that they observe in the midst of so much hostility and human misery.

Marvin Hernández Monzón, Cuba Free Press.

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