Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. -

11 de Febrero del 2000

TO BUY OR NOT TO BUY; THAT IS THE QUESTION. By Juan Antonio Soto, Cuba Free Press.

Placetas.- Andres Garcia Aguilera, age 25 and a prisoner at Las Grimas Prison has been brutally beaten by guards at the prison.

Before that, a nurse at the prison infirmary gave Aguilera medication for an eye ailment he already was suffering. When he arrived at the prison cafeteria with pills in hand, Reidel del Pino, a prison official asked who had given him the medicine. Garcia Aguilera did not respond, fearing his answer might get the nurse in trouble.

His refusal to answer the question did not set well with del Pino who then proceeded to handcuff him. Once Garcia was handcuffed, del Pino and three other prison guards started beating him. The official outdid himself in the punishment, causing Garcia an injury under his left eye that required eight stitches and was considered serious.

Garcia Aguilera's mother and sister have formally accused the guards in a complaint at the Military Prosecutor's Office for the province of Villa Clara. The two decided to take such action after seeing the condition young Garcia Aguilera had been left in. The guards continue to perform their duties.

Del Pino and his subordinates are now accusing the prisoner of "disrespect," the only reason they can use to justify their actions. Garcia Aguilera's family is demanding justice.

The young man is serving a three-year sentence for the crime of "resertation," a word for the "crime" of buying materials, goods or foods whose origin is unknown. Anyone who buys, say, several pounds of meat from someone not authorized by the government to sell it commits this crime. And so does anyone who buys any other products from unauthorized vendors.

In any other country this would be a crime only if the person purchased stolen merchandise. The difficulty here is establishing what is stolen if one takes into consideration the magnitude of the social conditions on the island. Hunger has blurred the line that exists between taking possession of something that doesn't belong to one and thus surviving or not taking that which doesn't belong to one and perhaps dying.

Juan Antonio Soto, Cuba Free Press.

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