in the hole
Once again in the hole despite
known health problem
More than three months without
RICARDO Alarcón, president of the
National Assembly of People’s Power, has condemned
the new solitary confinement punishment of Gerardo
Hernández Nordelo, one of the five anti-terrorist
Cubans unjustly imprisoned in the United States.
Hernández was again placed in the hole on July 21
and efforts by the Cuban government to contact
prison authorities and the State Department in order
to clarify the situation have been unsuccessful,
Alarcón informed the press at Havana’s International
He described Gerardo’s situation as serious due to
the small size of the cell, one by two meters, which
he is sharing with another prisoner, and which has
hardly any ventilation because air can only enter
through a small hole in the upper part of the wall.
The U.S. government knows that Gerardo has some
physical health problems, and that he has being
asking for a medical examination since this past
April. He was finally given a medical appointment
for July 20, during which problems requiring
treatment were diagnosed.
Apparently it is a problem caused by bacteria which,
according to the doctor, is circulating among the
prison population, and has led to some serious
cases. "We do not know if this is the case with
Gerardo, because they have not done the tests, and
in any event he was put in the hole the day after
the medical exam."
Alarcón added that he also has blood pressure
fluctuations, understandable because—while he has
just turned 45—he has spent 12 years confined in
harsh conditions, but despite this has retained his
"We are concerned about his poor health—and most of
all medical treatment for him—made difficult with
the hole, because the prison temperature rises to
over 35 degrees Celsius," he noted.
"This is a very serious situation that we are
exposing. We are following events closely and
hopefully, they will be resolved today even, or
tomorrow. We are making approaches through every
channel and are in contact with his lawyers, but if
there is no clarification, the National Assembly has
to make a statement," he noted.
"Since we heard about the situation extra-officially,
we have been asking for clarification from the U.S.
authorities, but have not received any clarification
as to what happened, or why he is being punished,"
Recently, his sister Isabel saw him and confirmed
his harsh prison conditions, Alarcón added, because
he was brought to the visit handcuffed and with
chains on his feet, and they spoke by telephone
through a thick glass partition, a condition imposed
on prisoners who have been sanctioned,.
"We have no explanation and it caught our attention
that Gerardo was summoned by various officials from
the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), who came
to the prison and played a part in him being placed
in the hole. Evidently this is not an action purely
on the part of the prison," he emphasized.
"It is strange that this is the third time in this
unjust incarceration of our five heroes that Gerardo
has been put in the hole, just as his case is being
prepared for appeal," the president of the Cuban
Parliament pointed out.
"He should be working with his attorneys in drafting
the basis for his habeas corpus and the U.S.
government knows that.
At this point, Gerardo cannot have any contact with
his attorneys, or access to correspondence. He
cannot even speak on the telephone. He is completely
isolated and – on top of that – in a state of his
health that could endanger his ability to function,
for which the U.S. government is entirely
Alarcón gave his statements to the accredited press
at the 5th Ordinary Session of the National Assembly
of People‘s Power, whose 12 Commissions are
continuing their sessions today. (AIN)