September 10, 1997
Grant amnesty to ailing females
in Cuban prisons
by Monike de Motas
Havana - Currently Cuba holds up to sixteen females political
Five of them, are being held without trial, three are pending
the other five, languish in jail while their case is still in the
Imprisonment is always traumatic, independently of the persons sex,
more so for women who, by nature, are usually less prepared to withstand
torture and misery associated with the deprivation of freedom in Cuba's
Therefore even when it may be said that all females in prison suffer
different ailments, mainly, associated with psychiatric conditions, or
malnutrition. There are some cases that for their extreme nature require
attention. Among them, five Cuban females require immediate relief.
The saddest case may be that of Maria Mendoza Marrero. A person with
mental illness and epilepsy who has suffered imprisonment for five years
whose sentence extends into the next five years. Her illness was not
behind bars, she was already sick in 1992, when she collaborated in
to steal a boat to elope from the country. The Cuban State showed no
mercy with her even when she was manifestly incompetent.
In identical condition is Ariadnes Jordan Contreras; who even while
suffering from a brittle diabetes and thyroid dysfunction, which have
required repeated hospitalizations, it is expected that she will remain
incarcerated for seven more years. Back in 1994, Ms. Contreras, received
a 10- year sentence and she cannot hope for any merciful early release.
The remaining three are persons with psychiatric impairments and
conditions, which may account for their evident weight loss. In spite of
they will be forced to continue suffering for many years to come.
Maritza Santos Rocel and Xiomara Aliat Collado were both sentenced
alleged "insurrection"in 1992 and 1993 respectively. The first,
still four years and eight months to go, the second three.
Our fifth person with ailments is Maria de Jesus Benitez Tejeda, who
sentenced to six years, in 1996, for the crime of pretending to uphold her
to think and express her ideas freely.
Each and every one of these cases exhibit characteristics that a
more humane society would grant them relief, including amnesty.
Translated directly from the Spanish electronic version by R.