From Act for Freedom Now!
A couple of weeks ago we wrote to Carlos who answered our questions.
Hi comrade, how are you?
– I’m OK, without that meaning that I have become resigned and accept the reality of incarceration and the passivity of being a prisoner, one of many. Physically I’m fine, I do a bit of exercise, that’s critical so as not to sink into unnecessary depression, in fact I believe that gymnastics can control some pent-up frustrations; it helps to make me feel better and also makes me strengthen my body and walk safely inside a cage for animals where one never knows what might happen. “Catching” an intestinal infection is something normal in here, due to the “rancho” (collective food) that they give us prisoners which is often disgusting and looks terrible, at other times you can’t even guess what it is either by the smell or the by look of it. And this means that I, as good eater of “rancho”, know where the infections that appear from time to time originate.
Also, the water available to drink is not good even though there are two purification filters that should filter it, however, the result is not optimal. The tap water is dirty and I think that depends on the area where we are (Iztapalapa) where it is all like that, as well as the fact that – obviously – for the establishment we prisoners are worth very little, and they don’t care about the hygiene of the water pipes. So it is the combination of the food and the water that produces the infections I mentioned.
As well as this, the sinusitis that I developed in here also annoys me. It’s not as frequent thanks to the comrades who have supported me with medicines, but the pain is very strong when your nose is blocked and accompanied with terrible headaches. You don’t even think of going to go to the infirmary, because they have an ethic of conduct of the kind “we will only examine if you arrive half dead or money in hand,” otherwise the wait will be a long one. On one occasion when I went to the C.O.C. doctor for him to give me some folic acid that had nothing to do with sinusitis, the woman I spoke with was very bad! And so, that’s how I am: physically nearly always OK, although my defences are lowered, but I’m trying to stay strong. I must say that when I get visits from family or comrades they bring me wonderful food and make me feel very happy. In fact I love eating and – without putting up a fight – I’ve stopped being a vegetarian.
Tell us, how did the change of attorney come about?
– The question of the attorney has been a series of surprises and vicious treatment that Fallon, Amelie and myself have had meted out to us by the administration and the federal police. I’ll take this opportunity to give a short account of that from the time we were in the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) up until when we found ourselves under federal prosecutors.
A few hours before they notified us of the change to the above court – when we were still in the PGR Camarones – they pull me out of the cell to notify me something, I don’t remember what; it was there that I saw three plane tickets before my eyes, two for the girl comrades in the direction of Nayarit prison and one for me to Matamoros.
Obviously they were going to transfer us to these federal prisons so as to put us on trial charged with: sabotage, terrorism and organized delinquency which they wanted to accuse us of at the time. An hour before taking us to the HANGLAR of the PGR to uncertain destinies, they bring me in front of the prosecutor and tell me to speak with the lawyer urgently.
As I did not manage to talk to him, I was notified that I would be transferred along with the comrades to the maximum security “Casa de Arraigo Federal” for investigations to continue. Subsequently, the comrades Amelie and Fallon were also notified, to whom I said that was good news because, in some way, we wouldn’t be split up.
It should be pointed out that although this decision was made by a judge, we never found ourselves face to face with him; which didn’t matter to us since it is a question of an authority. The journey from the PGR to the court was ridiculous. They put us – all three – in a van with about six federal police. They all held large calibre weapons like AK47s and others that I didn’t recognize, and various patrol cars followed us, all with sirens blaring.
Shortly before arriving at the federal courthouse the guy that was beside me began to “growl” aggressively things like: “We have already allowed you a lot, if you knew how much I want to smash your face in and if I don’t do it it’s because you’re with the Canadians and for now we have orders to deliver you without putting a finger on you”(I guess it was because the Mexican government is a sycophant of the Canadian government and did not want to have issues). However, if it had been up to him he would have got rid of us without anyone noticing.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared stiff at that moment. You can imagine what passes through your head at that point.
When we arrived at the court they let us out in the middle of a deployment of forces worthy of the most terrible Mexican drug traffickers. They closed two big lanes of the road and firing into the air (from what I could hear) the pigs formed a kind of cordon so that we, “the super terrorists” passed without anyone trying to liberate us.
I remember that on entering the area for being searched they pushed me up against the wall and all the personnel present told me to take off my clothes – always with the stupid order to say “yes sir, no sir” – and the humiliation of the push-ups and showing one’s ass to all and sundry began.
Fortunately they did not ask the same of the girl comrades, in fact as far as I recall were searched in private by a policewoman.
After the search they asked me what cartel (of narcotraffickers) I belonged to, whether to the Michoacana family, the Gulf cartel, Sinaloa, the Zetas and I don’t know how many others to decide where to put me; I answered simply, head down, hands behind my back, a “no sir, I do not belong to any cartel sir”. I know it was a stupid answer, but it was the only one possible at that moment.
When I got to prison I was incensed when I realised the number of cases of people under investigation that, with violence and violating their alleged individual guarantees, the police forced – through physical and psychological torture – to accept charges they knew nothing about, all for the purpose of inventing crimes.
I remember the case of a woman who was beaten and given electric shocks in the vagina so that she would accept accusations that she was forced to confess to, thereby signing up for a long prison sentence.
Despite the fact that there were no beatings inside the prison, it was pretty frustrating to spend all day locked up. We only had approximately 10 minutes between one meal and the other and then we were locked up again. Always under the gaze of the omnipresent cameras and the staff of the now extinct AFI (Federal Investigation Agency).
It was difficult to not be observed all the time in everything we did. As a kind of anecdote, on one occasion we managed to get in a pen (which is forbidden) and so I was able to write my second letter. The cops raided my cell twice but couldn’t find the pen, which made them froth with rage, while the three of us would exchange mocking complicit glances.
In the end they were not able to sustain their theatricals of “terrorism” and dropped the charges with respect to federal crimes, then moved our case to the common court.
How have you been treated in Reclusorio Oriente?
– The East Penitentiary is one of the most heavily populated prisons, at least here in Mexico City, with more than 14,000 prisoners and, as far as I know, is one of the most dangerous.
In the complex where I am held we are about 800 people in about 40 cells, or an average of 17-20 inmates to a cell. In other dormitories and complexes there come to be even more inmates in each cell, showing the overcrowding, taking into account that each cell as I see it is designed for only 6 people. Well, I’m quoting this statistical “note” just to try to answer the question of “how do they treat some of the detainees in a prison like that?” And the answer is, as a simple consequence, they are abused.
And since it is a prison, or a project of domestication and alienation aimed at all those individuals who do not accept the rules and regulations of a sick society of remote-controlled and manipulated robots, we cannot expect anything other than this: ill-treatment.
Just as there are those who have got to the point of thinking that “you make words understood by beating”, there are those who still think and believe that a “criminal” is going to regenerate in a place where he receives only ill-treatment. They come with their reintegration programs where they try to get the prisoner to study and give value to what he left outside; but the reality in here is far from that, alongside its rehabilitation projects there is the violence of the system, drugs, the dynamics of the “bandits of power,” the gradual degradation of the individual and the hatred and resentment that unconsciously starts forming in any kidnapped person.
In here, I have always identified myself as an anarchist in struggle, and this has definitely given me problems, but no more than any other prisoner, as I said earlier. For the institutions we prisoners are the scum and dead end of society and “deserve” to be treated as such: as the worst and in the worst possible way.
There are many prisoners who say the prison was worse before and now is “just a joke”, kind of accepting the current situation. This position always makes me sick, because it is precisely what the State wants; that we adapt to this “pot of misery” when we could demand much more: our freedom.
Unfortunately, as in any prison / society the individual doesn’t act until the moment he sees his interests threatened. This is something we recently experienced when a prison guard was murdered and seeing that “forbidden” items (drugs, weapons, etc. ..) continue to get in for prisoners during visits, the prison institution decided to eliminate the “cabañas” (small rooms supplied with sheets used in most cases for sexual encounters between prisoners and persons visiting) to punish prisoners and to generate a huge economic income for certain “groups” of prisoners. So, seeing their interests threatened, some prisoners are now angry with the institution to the point of organizing to prevent that happening. It ‘s just an example of what I mean.
What can you tell us about your legal situation?
– The investigations are over and we are getting there; both for the common court and the federal one. The first phase of the circus has ended. Now, if I remember correctly, the results of the trial and the sentence should arrive in two months.
And that is when, in my opinion, the second phase, which is recourse to appeal and defence, will begin. Still in my opinion, the case will be filed away and they will try to keep us a bit longer’.
I hate prison and I don’t want to remain in here, but this fucking State must try at all costs to find the accused guilty. I’ll continue with the slogan “Neither guilty nor innocent,” and I don’t care what the laws say, I just want this unnatural abduction and retention to end as soon as possible.
I bear in mind that I am not the only one on trial, there are also the comrades Amelie and Fallon, so there are points that I will not touch on out of respect for them. What I can say openly is that I will never keep quiet and will never take on the role of the victim. Regardless of what they accuse me of, I declare myself an enemy of the State and for that I will fight as much as possible.
I have noticed a number of inconsistencies in the trial, some attempts at a frameup with false police statements accusing us, and in particular those who accuse me directly, as in most of the documentation they only refer to me. I guess it’s easier for them to focus on one single defendant rather than three. I also think that in their strategic way they (the police) will try to find any evidence of my guilt and then make the connections with my comrades just to do a perfect job.
A lot could be said, but, once again I repeat, I will not out of respect for my comrades Amelie and Fallon, since I have not seen them personally for some time.
How is your mood?
– I’d have imagined it would have been easy and simple to answer such a question, but it’s not. Obviously I must be very strong and confident in what I am having to live through at the moment, and above all know that I’m not alone in this.
I have been able to see and experience comradeship and the great support of many people first hand, including some family members and many comrades of ideas and struggle, who have not moved an inch in these 8 months of prison, and are still there with their solidarity and their love, unconditionally, without asking anything in return.
But not everything is rosy, not everything is sweetness, because the deprivation of liberty involves many things and often are you filled with sadness and melancholy.
The mood varies, like outside, but with the difference that in here if you feel down you can’t just go and find a good friend or one of your family, or go and have a beer and listen to music or even go for a walk among the trees in a park, to cheer up.
In here it’s different. If you feel down you have to deal with it with your own strength, which can sometimes abandon you; grab on to memories, or if that is not enough, you can go to the phone and make some calls.
But you would like to go further, you’d like to see those you love, hug them, sit next to them and talk to them looking into their eyes, along with creating, conspiring, dreaming, laughing, kissing, among other things.
But you can’t. Visits make me feel very good, they fill me with emotions and make me come alive inside this death camp.
Reading also gives me life, the letters, leaflets and displays of solidarity of comrades.
So my mood is “good”, even though sometimes, occasionally, I feel momentarily “down.” But that’s the way things are for now, this is life.
It ‘s very difficult to admit to the sadness because usually “one” tries to prove to oneself that one is very strong and can carry on easily, but that’s not so, because as human beings we have feelings and emotions, and it is necessary to recognize them and live them.
Translated into Italian by RadioAzione and PKT