In the United States, unlike Cuba, we almost never free political prisoners and we certainly don’t give them medical care. We send them to the hole, we punish them while they’re in the hole, and we deny them access to their attorneys. And our State Department ignores any questions on the subject. Like with Gerardo Hernández. Gerardo says that this picture (of a Nazi torture cell) is a dead ringer for the hole where he is being held. Except that I’ll bet this one is bigger.
Arturo Valenzuela is the Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the State Department. Switchboard: 202-647-4000
UPDATE: When I called the State Department Switchboard they had a great deal of trouble recognizing Valenzuela’s name. 202-647-6755 will reach a secretary for Valenzuela who can take a message for him while he’s traveling.
Alarcón: The United States is Responsible for Gerardo Hernández’s Health – español
Prensa Latina – Today Ricardo Alarcón, the President of Cuba’s National Assembly of People’s Power, said the U.S. government was responsible for the health of the anti-terrorist fighter, Gerardo Hernández, a prisoner in the United States who is suffering from health problems.
“Gerardo’s health is in danger and the U.S. government is entirely responsible for this,” warned Alarcón at the convention center in Havana, where the permanent parliamentary committees are working in advance of the fifth set of meetings for the Assembly’s seventh legislature.
Alarcón further emphasized that justice was being obstructed in Gerardo’s case since he is being confined to the “hole” in the prison at Victorville, California, without having committed any infractions.
The head of the Cuban parliament says it is a very serious situation, because Gerardo is not only in the hole, but in punishing conditions, in an extremely small cell without ventilation, with only a tiny opening high in the wall of the cell that he shares with another captive.
“The U.S. government knows that Gerardo has certain physical ailments, for which he has been asking to be seen by doctors since last April,” said Alarcón, who added that Gerardo was only allowed a medical consult on July 20th. The following day, however, he was taken to the hole, a cell two meters long by one wide, where the temperatures are more than 95 degrees, despite the fact that he was diagnosed with several problems and still lacking treatment.
Alarcon said that apparently Gerardo is suffering from a bacteria that according to the doctor who attended him, was circulating among the prison population, with some very serious cases – although it’s not yet known for certain if Gerardo has it too, because no analysis was done. It also appears that Gerardo is suffering from newly increased blood pressure. He is a young man, barely 45 years old, but has experienced more than 12 extremely difficult episodes, recalled Alarcón.
Alarcón expressed his concern for the health of the Cuban anti-terrorist, despite his strong will, above all, because he is not receiving medical attention. “We have continually complained to the State Department and have not received a response. It is not just that he is in the hole, but in punishment conditions within the hole,” he said.
He pointed out that Gerardo is unable to communicate with his attorneys exactly at the time when they are working on his appeal, a situation that has happened again and again throughout the entire process. “Gerardo ought to be working with his attorneys on the grounds for his habeas corpus appeal. The U.S. government knows this and right now they have him incommunicado; he cannot communicate with his attorneys, cannot receive correspondence, he is completely isolated and on top of it all, he is ill, with risks to his physical integrity,” he emphasized.