Tuesday, August 16, 2005


MODEL PRISON IN THE ISLAND OF PINES.
AlterNative


In the south of Cuba there is an island of smaller size named Youth's Island. In 1926, when its name was Island of Pines, Machado's government began to build the Model Prison there. It is 4 kilometers away from the center of the current Nueva Gerona City. The red arrow points it in the map.
AlterNative


This building was the former Administration of the prision. The houses of the officers were situated in both sides of it. Today this part serves as a school for children under 12 years old.
AlterNative

Behind the previous building there are four circular prisons. The fifth circular building in the center, was the dining room.
AlterNative


Inner part of a circular prison. The roofs were made of wood. The small squares around were the cells. The prisoners were watched from the high of this central tower.
AlterNative


There was not possible access to the tower from the interior of the prison. It was designed to avoid any attack of the prisoners. The entrance to the tower was through an underground tunnel that led to the exterior.
AlterNative


This stairway led the prisoners to the showers. Notice down there the place where the showers were. Stains of water can be still seen on the tiles.
AlterNative

Each circular prison had five levels of cells. The total was of 465 cells. In the fifth floor there were 15 cubicles dedicated to those were punished.
AlterNative

Each cell was designed to host two prisoners, but in times of crisis prisons used to be over populated. The big windows were protected by solid iron bars. The marks of the bunks remain in the walls. Each cell had also a toilet and a washstand.
AlterNative

Each cell had a number. These still conserve the iron rails.
AlterNative


Pedro Castells, sadistic man, Director of the Model Prison. "Absolute Lord, cruel as not even Ivan the Terrible himself, his domains reached the subconscious of his men" (Pablo de la Torriente Brau, Model Prison). Castells was the director until his deprivation and imprisonment in Havana. His public trial was postponed several times. He was judged in 1936.
AlterNative
SOME DATA ABOUT CASTELLS
(Taken from "Refierome solo a Castells" by Antonio Reyna Leyva)


He didn't accept gifts from anybody
Only ate once a day
He didn't smoke neither drank
He frequently bit his chauffeur
He had a hard and suspicious look
He liked baseball.
He spoke English laud
He only had 3 military suits (…) and no civil cloth
Castells was irritable man. He was always red of anger.
He frequently wrote letters to Trujillo.
He was instinctively cruel but wisely to covered himself with the mantel of pity.
He yawned at least 150 times a day.
He hated Dogs but loved Crocodiles.
He measured sick people pulse with gloves on.
He had a prodigious memory.


His favorite words:

Fool. Fucker. Motherfucker. Fag. Bug. Cockroach.


Famous quotes:

“Men are, for me, my like sticks for teeth. When I don't need them anymore I throw them out."

“I am the God of the Island of Pines.”

“The Prison is my girlfriend, every day I feel deeper in love with Her”

“I feel drunk contemplating my masterpiece"

Weapons found in the surroundings of the Prison.
AlterNative

Political prisoners of the 1930 decade. In those years Pablo de la Torriente Brau was confined there during two years. Nevertheless there are no hints today in the Museum of the prision about this important Cuban fighter.
AlterNative


Once he was free, Pablo de la Torriente published a lot of articles in the Cuban newspapers about the abuses suffered by the convicts. Some of them are: Suicidados, fugados, enterrados vivos. Una serie sobre los horrores de Cambray (Carteles Magazine). La isla de los 500 asesinatos. Castells no ayudo a Machado (Ahora newspaper). This book "Model Prison" is a magnificent testimony about the Prison during the 30's.
AlterNative

An example of art inside prison.
AlterNative

A religious image in the central tower of a circular prison.
AlterNative

Graffiti inside a circular prison.
AlterNative

This other graffiti refers to Fidel Castro, leader of the Movement July 26, who was also prisoner in this jail in the decade of the 50's.
AlterNative

The political prisoners of July 26 Movement were not put in the circular prisons. They were confined together in this section.
AlterNative

Fidel Castro's bed.
AlterNative

Lights were never turned off, in order to maintain a hard surveillance. The black ribbons on the pillows were used by the revolutionaries to sleep without suffering the excessive illumination.
AlterNative

The bathroom of the section had three showers, a washstand and two toilets.
AlterNative

The toilets.
AlterNative

Neither were they allowed to work so that they didn't have contact with the regular prisoners. That's why they could use the free time for the political preparation. In this table, that was also used as a dining room, took place the classes of the Ideological Academy "Abel Santamaria."
AlterNative

Some of the books read by Fidel Castro in prison. Das Kapital, by Karl Marx and "The mediocre man" by Jose Ingenieros.
AlterNative


From this corner the youths of July that 26 Movement sang the "Hymn of the 26" as an act of protest against the dictator Fulgencio Batista. After that, Fidel Castro was isolated of his comrades in another section of the building.
AlterNative

Batista was visiting the Island of Pines because he was invited to inaugurate this Plant of Electricity inside the prison, on February 12, 1954. The revolutionaries sang the Hynm from the corner of the building of the right.
AlterNative

From this corner the youths of July that 26 Movement sang the "Hymn of the 26" as an act of protest against the dictator Fulgencio Batista. After that, Fidel Castro was isolated of his comrades in another section of the building.
AlterNative