Attempt to Brain Wash and to Crack Willpower

By Jose Luis Garcia Paneque

The Cuban jail system is based on principles such as hierarchy, obedience-submission, control, the absence of criticism, the annulment of potential and will of the imprisoned person, and the loss of relations of the prisoners with the society.  All of this was clearly displayed as they tried to apply these ‘principles’ on us.

When it comes to political prisoners or prisoners of conscience, the savagery is far worse, case proven as they severely applied these principles to the 75 prisoners arrested during the crackdown known as the Black Spring of 2003, one of the many dark chapters of a regime which pretends to be the most ‘humane’ and ‘respectful’ of  ‘human rights’.

And fresh in our minds were the declarations made by the ousted Minister of Exterior Relations, Felipe Perez Roque, which tried to degrade us, to justify and even hide what really was happening with these 75 men who only committed the crime of refusing to think with the brains of others.  Without stuttering, the resplendent Minister declared that “the only place in Cuba where human rights are violated is in the naval base of Guantanamo Bay”.  Four years later, he persisted on his lies and affirmed that “they were not journalists, they were mercenaries”.

The dictatorship employed all its cruel force against us with the sole objective of breaking our will.  And of brainwashing us.  But their plan did not take our firmness and integrity into account.  Neither transferring us to far-off prisons, enclosing us in small and sealed off cells, the psychological torture, or the physical punishments imposed on the majority of us could shatter our faith in the cause for a free Cuba.

On the 18th of June of 1968 Ronal Bierl wrote, “It is a significant fact that one of the worse punishments known to mankind is solitary confinement, a situation in which the individual not only finds himself on the margin of social stimulus and interaction, but also marginalized from any sort of change or novelty.  For this reason, they use these methods to try and soften the prisoners, which they wish to perform brainwashes on”.

The State Security (G2) officials were fully aware that, through solitary confinement, they would physically and psychologically harm many of us.  They had studied it, and learned it from their mentors from the Soviet KGB who had already practiced it on “enemy” prisoners captured during the Korean war of the 1950’s.  They very well knew of the consequences and scars which these procedures would leave on their victims.

But the truth cannot be hidden, and the best truth is that which resides in day to day life.  8 years of pain, suffering, and even deaths have had to pass so that the truth start coming out and reveal the true cruel of face of the Castros.  The world started knowing this truth upon the arrival of the first group of ex prisoners to Spain on that afternoon of Tuesday, July 13th of 2010.  Many of us carried the physical scars on our bodies, and also psychological scars, which alarmed many of those who chatted with us or who took up the task of publishing our testimonies.

We were consistent with our position and we assumed the consequences.  It’s true that it was a high cost, for we deeply lament the loss of such valuable men like Miguel Valdes Tamayo and a man who gave his life for a dignified cause- Orlando Zapata Tamayo- who is now a paradigm for the new generations.

We will not stop denouncing what we lived through these past 8 years in the Castro dungeons, so that time will not push such accounts of the horrors lived in the Cuban regime’s prisons into oblivion.

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