February 2019
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Pablo Pacheco

The visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Cuba left a storm of arrests, blocked phone lines, and beatings against non-violent dissidents.  The most visible of these cases has been the measures taken against the individual who screamed “freedom” in the Pope’s Mass in Santiago de Cuba.  The worst part of this specific case is that [...] Continue reading
Last Sunday ended the Catholic Social Week of the Miami Archdiocese, and luckily, I was able to participate in two of the events. In one of the programs, Cuban American businessman Carlos Saladrigas held a conference on the business future of Cuba. Saladrigas allowed the public to present written questions. According to the moderator, not [...] Continue reading
I arrived at the Matanzas prison known as ‘Aguica’ on April 29th.  I was kept there in solitary confinement for 17 months.  The Head of Penitentiaries applied a special regiment on us: family visits were only allowed every 3 months and could only last 2 hours, they only allowed 2 relatives and their underage children, [...] Continue reading
Writing what one’s conscience dictates in a totalitarian system represents a grand risk for those who break the barriers of silence which the soldiers impose.  Generally speaking, those who are brave end up in prison, exiled, and in the worst of cases in a cemetery.  Despite this, continuing to write without censoring our thoughts means [...] Continue reading
“Violation of Correspondence” by Pablo Pacheco Avila The communication between those of us prisoners in “The Polish” jail and the functionaries of the interior was deteriorating daily.  The guards had a low cultural level and engaged in despotism and intolerance. The prisoners, on the other hand, were rebellious, energetic, and desired freedom, which conflicted with [...] Continue reading
Violation of Correspondence II by Pablo Pacheco Avila It was a war of nerves between the guards and us on that morning.  They passed in front of our cells but they did not ask us our reasons for our abstinence from food. At lunchtime, we once again refused food, and to be completely honest, if [...] Continue reading
The complaints cost me points with the commander. by Pablo Pacheco Avila It has been 92 days since my last meeting with my wife and son. I was impatiently looking forward to the officer on duty calling my name for the visit, and being able to hug my family and talk with them, even though [...] Continue reading
by Pablo Pacheco Avila After meeting with the Amnesty International UK group in London, I went with Sue Bingham and Yaniset Zapata Grenot to Sonning Common, Reading, where both these women reside. Yaniset served as an interpreter and added the Cuban “touch” with her sense of humor. In the evening I met Graham, Sue’s husband. [...] Continue reading
Photo taken by Amnesty International by Pablo Pacheco Avila The future is unpredictable and our day to day experiences prove this. Just a few months ago my life was being consumed in a jail cell of the Canaletas Prison in the province of Ciego de Avila. Meanwhile, in other corners of the world thousands of [...] Continue reading
“Vicissitudes of an Isolation Cell” by Pablo Pacheco Avila My time behind the bars taught me to value the characteristics of each common prisoner, avoiding any sort of unnecessary confrontations. Imprisonment actually teaches you a great deal, but you have to learn quickly in order to survive through so much human misery. One morning we [...] Continue reading
Denying my Father a Visit One afternoon, the weather abruptly changed. It seemed as if the fury of the gods was attacking “The Polish” and all its inhabitants. Suddenly, a heavy rain shower invaded my cell. If I hadn’t been awake at the time, all my belongings would have gotten soaked. The water entered through [...] Continue reading