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HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Politics

Brother dreamed of a free country - Opinion

Posted March 18, 2005 by Cubana in Cuba Politics.
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BY BERTHA ANTUNEZ PERNET

On March 15, 1990, the Cuban regime incarcerated one of the island’s best sons for the sole crime of living in liberty and democracy. It all began when my brother, Jorge Luis ‘‘Antúnez’’ García Perez expressed his ideas in a public plaza. In our country, this constitutes a crime that is punished with prison time—plus ill treatment and abuses committed with equal impunity.

Jorge Luis has since been a political prisoner and prisoner of conscience. This week, he completed 15 years of a 17-year sentence. He has endured beatings, punishment cells, sealed cells, hunger, the lack of medical and religious assistance and being forced to sleep on the cold, humid floor.

During this time in prison, he has been exiled for more than 10 years from his beloved native province.

Jorge Luis had a dream of being an athlete. Instead, he has suffered through beatings that shattered his youthful health. By age 21, he had turned into an adult riddled with chronic illnesses that will accompany him for the rest of his life. He wanted to be a martial artist, and prison guards used him as practice for different martial-arts techniques, even while he was handcuffed.

Jorge Luis dreamt of being a lawyer. Yet while in prison he has been subjected to the most merciless laws and repressive attacks against his individual liberty. In exchange, he learned how a man is treated when he dares to think differently in a totalitarian society. He learned nothing to become a lawyer, only how to develop defensive reflexes.

Jorge Luis had a dream of a free country. But he has had to live these past 15 years in prison, knowing that his family and compatriots, too, are serving their own sentences in a larger prison on the outside. He has traveled the entire island from prison to prison. He has known first hand each method and form of inhuman treatment practiced in each place he has been imprisoned, yet he has always tried to create an atmosphere of internal liberty that is so necessary when external liberty is lacking.

Other prisoners have understood him, cared for him and have chosen him as a leader who provides them the necessary elements for a different way of thinking. Because of all this, prison authorities have continued to beat and relocate him. That’s when he begins anew to demonstrate the real nature of freedom to those who do not know the true essence of what it is to be free.

Jorge Luis has not been able to be a lawyer or an athlete. Little by little, however, he has been able to achieve the foundations of a free country. Through all the places he has passed, he has brought together groups of men of noble ideas who have formed an organization that morally distinguishes itself as the political-prisoners’ Pedro Luis Boitel Association. This is a movement that unites the families of political prisoners, that is present before each injustice committed against a prisoner—wherever it may be, under whatever conditions, political or not, as long as a human-rights violation is being committed.

Jorge Luis’ dream has not been completely snatched despite all the measures used by the regime intent on silencing his voice. The Black Diamond, as my brother is known in the prisons, is there. He maintains his defiance and cannot be silenced. He is recognized by people of goodwill worldwide who have acknowledged his values and have given him international awards for his work defending human rights.

Jorge Luis’ fundamental motto is, “Do more for the prisoners because they need help, otherwise they will have no one to advocate for them, and one day the homeland will be free.’‘

Bertha Antúnez Pernet is sister of Cuban political prisoner and prisoner of conscience Jorge Luis ‘‘Antúnez’’ García Perez.

Member Comments

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On March 18, 2005, bernie wrote:

Maybe “ANTUEZ” thinks CUBAN prisons are bad, well
  I would suggest he visit PELICAN BAY PRISON in
  California for a year or two, I’m pretty sure he
  would go running back to a CUBAN pronto, pronto.

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On March 18, 2005, mattlawrence wrote:

I ‘d hate to think the lawlessness that goes on in Castro’ prisons goes on in the U.S.  While I fully understand prison life of any type is NOT the best, I doubt seriously our worst prisons are equivalant to the dirt floors of Castro’ confines.

Matt Lawrence, Author
Dying to Get Here: A Story of Coming to America
[url=http://www.mattlawrencebooks.com]http://www.mattlawrencebooks.com[/url]

“They come for what most Americans take for granted.”

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On March 20, 2005, waldo wrote:

Right on Bernie. Also visit Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles full of blacks and chicanos but almost empty of whites. Crowded life and food there is as misserably and dirty as it could possibly any where.

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On March 20, 2005, PABLOPUEBLO wrote:

Hey Mr. Bernie,I can state that the tiny and harmful ‘Polacas”
in Castro prisons are alike the Dante’ “inferno"I don’t know
how the chicanos,latinos u otras minorías are jailed in USA,but
I know for sure two things,those places are not worse than those in Cuba,and the second is that in Cuba people who thinks
and talk about different from the government code go to jail,
and if that occurs in AmÈrica,That escapes from my imagination.
what I say that there is no reason o whatsoever for jailing
people just for thinking and talking against the Power.-

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On March 20, 2005, waldo wrote:

And yet the number of prissioner in the USA is the largest of any country in the western world. Furhtermore, the percentage of prisioners to inhabitants in the USA is also the largest in the wester world. Too bad judgements on Cuban prissions are made without knowledge of prissions in the USA.

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On March 28, 2005, PABLOPUEBLO wrote:

Bernie,the inmates in Pelican Bay and others are for sure,
not good guys,some of them despicable killers or drug-traffickers,Antunes is not,the point is he has been incarcerated
just for thinking and to tell issues at odds with the government’ issues,in brief, for being real,according on his
thoughts.