If you are a political prisoner in Cuba, chances are you are a very sick man, or woman. The living conditions — the lighting, the food, etc. — are horrible, and once you fall ill, the medical care leaves you convinced that the myth about Cuban health care is nothing but.
In fact, in the gulag the dictatorship imposes its will by maximizing the physical suffering of its captives, encouraging common criminals to attack political prisoners and denying them treatment for their many ills.
Misceláneas de Cuba this morning has updates on Hernández and Suárez:
Independent journalist José Manuel Caraballo Bravo reports that Hernández, 39, is being held in the sick bay the Kilo 7 prison in Camagüey.
"Nothing has changed," said Hernández's wife, Yaraí Reyes Marin, told the journalist. "Normando continues to suffer from chronic stomach and intestinal problems, coupled with psychiatric problems caused by his long illness and poor treatment he has received in prison. He is very thin and waiting on the decision of his executioners."
Hernández, himself a journalist, was arrested during the "black spring" crackdown of March-April 2003 and sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Imprisoned since 1987, Suårez, 44, currently may be the longest-jailed political prisoner in Cuba, according to a report from independent journalist Belinda Salas Tapanes. His mother, Isabel Ramos Martínez, told Salas that Suárez has not seen a required medical specialist in two months.
"I fear for the life of my son," Ramos said. "He suffers from oral cancer and needs drugs that are available at the hospital, but until now they have not administered them to him. I call on all international human rights organizations and people of goodwill to intercede for his freedom. And I hold the Castro government responsible for what might happen. This is nothing less than the result of the massive extermination camps we face under the dictatorship.
Suárez was originally sentenced to death for a 1987 plane hijacking during which a guard was killed. The death sentence was later commuted to 30 years in prison.
But as Suárez, Hernández and hundreds, if not thousands of other Cubans in the Castro gulag know too well, they are one in the same.