Notes from Captivity XIX
Violation of Correspondence III
by Pablo Pacheco Avila
Two soldiers took took me to a classroom, just a few steps away from the ‘Polish Cell’. They would always take us with our hands handcuffed to our backs, for security reasons- according to the guards. If we even slightly bumped into the uniformed officials, it could end up in the destruction of our faces or our teeth. Luckily, that never happened. At least with the political prisoners.
The directors of ‘Aguica’ Prison were sitting inside the classroom, as well as a political police official. The official by the name of Penate invited me to sit down. I preferred to stay standing.
I let them know every one of our demands until Captain Diosdado More, the director of the prison, interrupted me.
“Pablo”, he told me, “I can see that you’ve all reached an agreement amongst yourselves. You have repeated the same phrases and accusations against us until the point of exhaustion”.
“No, Captain”, I responded, “It’s just that we have all suffered what we are demanding, which is very different from simply reaching an agreement”.
After nearly an hour of dialogue and their promises that they would comply with our demands, I told them to take me back to my cell. To this, one official responded, “a guard will take you to the lunchroom where you will eat and show them all that you are discontinuing the hunger strike”. I sarcastically smiled and said, “I will only eat in my cell. That lunchroom is for the prisoners who work in the yard and I am confined to an isolation cell. I will never work for re-education”.
Clearly irritated, Diosdado rose from his chair and grabbed my arm to tell me something. I rapidly shook off his grip and told him, “You are not a friend of mine or anything of the sort to be taking me by the arm like that”.
My response angered him further, which led him to call on a guard to take me to the Vivac cell.
“Captain, if you like you could even send me to hell. Even though I am already there. Regardless, I will only eat in my cell”.
“Today, you will really get to know what hell is like”, he fired back.
Just a few minutes later, the guards were searching through my belongings in the Vivac cell. Suddenly, I heard one of them say, “Penate, come look at this”. After reading one of my notes, the political police official said, “Pacheco, this news is false”.
“Really?”, I responded, “Then tell me what happened. Tell me what led this common prisoner, last name Licea, to throw himself from his cell’s ceiling and into his death. You’d be a very trustworthy source for this news”.
Penate literally changed colors and furiously yelled, “Guard, take him into the cell in the back, for being such a loud mouth and for disrespect”.
“You can take me wherever you like, but tell me what happened to Licea. You know that the guards were going to beat him and he preferred to throw himself into nothingness instead of receiving those blows. You are all nothing but abusers and one day you will all pay for your crimes”.
“Take him away!”, screamed Penate to one of the men under him in the ranks.