Maritza Lugo

* 1963  

  • "A sister of mine, when I was in the cell, when I was finishing my sentence, went to see me and could never go to prison again to see me, because she saw me so bad... Imagine ten days without bathing, without combing my hair, without eating... Only the State Security was getting me out from time to time. The State Security does with one there what they want to. They say to the guards: 'Open the bars' and they open the bars and they took me out of there to a small room and they started saying things to me:' Look at your daughters, look, it’s all your fault, if you had understood us, your daughters would not be alone now, you are the one responsible for your daughters...‘ Because that was something they worked hard on for all the time. To the point that today my daughters do not want to know anything about Cuba, my daughters are very sick of nerves, both of them. It cost them a lot as adults to understand why I was doing that, because they did not understand it, because the State Security worked at them a lot psychologically. They made them understand that I was imprisoned because I wanted to, not because I wanted to be with them. Because they were told: 'Well, if your mother was a better person, she would be with you...' That I chose to be imprisoned before being with them, so that my daughters also hated me and repudiated me."

  • "Life there (in the punishment cell) is unbearable for many more reasons. There was not only me, there were more punishment cells, it's like a pavilion, you hear the prisoners that are there inside, but you never see anyone, just hear... There were many of them who were having attacks, who were screaming... There was a girl whose name I have never been able to erase from my mind... I do not know what happened to her finally, and this happened many years ago... Her name was Solange López. That girl entered the prison there, I was told later, because of prostitution. There are young girls who start selling their body, or whatever else, for money, even though they had studied... So she went to prison, and it got complicated inside the prison because the other prisoners stole her belongings and she defended them… Well, she went to the punishment cell. That girl went completely crazy. To the point where her clothes were taken away from her, because she was constantly trying to kill herself. She was cutting her arms against the bars, they were having her there naked, in her bones, just for case that she defecated all around… She did not comb her hair, she did not bathe, she was completely gone... she was not all right anymore. And it was all day screaming and screaming. The guards were coming, when she was already very upset, they gave her shocks, and they beat her instead of giving her medical attention."

  • "These punishment cells are hellish places inside the prison. They are places that can only condemn you to ten days, at most I think three months or something like that, because they are unbearable places. It's not easy to leave them. And when a person is taken there several times, there, they end up mad, they attack their own lives and everything, because it is unbearable. The punishment cells are very small, they are about one meter wide, even so there is a bed that is made of concrete with nothing, it is a concrete table, for your physical needs there is a gap that they call Turkish toilet, it is a hole where you can do your needs, right there is the water pipe. To bathe you they put the water on, when they want, a few minutes, you can drink water from there, everything to do there... If there is cold, you have to spend horrible cold, if there is heat, it is a horrible heat."

  • "Well, Rafael was sentenced to 20 years in prison and I was left alone with my two daughters. In spite of everything that I was going through, everything the government did to me, because not only did they arrest Rafael, but they took away everything we had in the house, the animals that I had… They made us a confiscation. The animals that fed my daughters, the goat that gave milk to my daughters, they took it away from us. They said that it was illegal enrichment, causes that they invented as always."

  • "In Cuba you live with such a great ignorance of what democracy is, of what freedom is, that nobody imagines... how that people... You can hardly fight because you do not know what to do in that situation. But little by little we were reorganizing, we were fighting peacefully, that in the end, the Government was so enraged that it invented a cause for my husband, the father of my daughters, Rafael Ibarra Roque, and sentenced him to 20 years in prison. They accused him of an alleged crime of sabotage, that he had harmed a military station, well, that was a horrible, horrible thing. The government started to create a campaign that he had raped a girl... Well, horrible things... they did it in a way that no one would support us. So that everyone was afraid of what we were going through and nobody wanted to go through that, because of that situation. Nobody would help us, no one would hide us, no one could support us in any way. In the end, they were looking for Rafael Ibarra, they arrested him and they sentenced him to 20 years."

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    Miami, Florida, USA, 17.04.2018

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If Cuba is free, we will return to build this society

Maritza  Lugo
Maritza Lugo
zdroj: Post Bellum

Maritza Lugo was born in 1963 in a humble family in Havana. During her youth she had frequent conflicts with the authorities, she opposed the injustice that had to be faced in the educational institutions of a totalitarian country. Because of this, she was prevented from continuing her studies at the university and could not practice her favorite sports either. She married the dissident Rafael Ibarra Roque, with whom she began to get involved in the activities of the Cuban opposition, and in reporting the violations of the Human Rights in Cuba. After the imprisonment of her husband, she became the leader of the Democratic Party November 30. She was under the permanent surveillance of the organs of State Security because of her activities, which focused mainly on the promotion of the ideals of freedom and democracy, and on the support of political prisoners. Accused of crimes of dangerousness and bribing a guard, she was sentenced to five years in prison. A part of the sentence was served at home thanks to international pressure. She suffered violations of her rights and became one of the planted prisoners, thus prisoners who opposed to any cooperation with the regime. To protest against the practices of the authorities she fought with hunger strikes. During her imprisonment she witnessed mistreatment of prisoners. She left the prison in 1999. She was exiled to the United States in 2002, where she collaborated with the organization „Los Plantados“ (The Planted Prisoners) of Ángel de Fana.