CHOOSING SIDES
GETTING ORGANIZED

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June 8

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I am writing these lines quickly to inform you all of my current situation…

Lately there have been tensions in the segregation[1] unit, internal conflicts, and fights around everything, and at the same time, nothing.

Although at the end of the day we don’t need to fear conflict, after all, we are obligated to live together, and through the disagreements that come up we learn little by little to tolerate one another on this island.

Being apart from the rest of the population makes it difficult to get things and food…the rations almost never arrive and we must riot every two or three day for the right to food.

This happens every day, it is a silent and daily fight that is fought without anyone paying the least attention. The guards are skilled negotiators who put down the revolts in a blink of an eye and one of the things that contributes most to everything is the vicious cycle of drug addiction among the majority of the prisoners. This gives the jailers the power to blackmail the prisoners with punishments and rewards – if you behave well, I open the gate and you are able to get money and drugs; If you behave badly I lock you in and you don’t get high, it is a simple system of discipline.

And as you abandon the idea of attacking and fighting against authority, the daily stress goes from prisoner to prisoner and it becomes a fight of all against all.

If I have not written recently to those “outside” of these walls it is because I have proposed as a practical learning exercise to try to analyze and upset my daily relations and now I think I have reflected enough about my social behaviors that I would like to share what I’ve learned. And that’s always why I’d like to take the opportunity to say that the 5th issue of the newspaper “El Canero” is almost ready. And it is there through that medium that I will be better able to explain my ideas and proposals for continuing the offensive in the struggle to take back our lives.

In general terms, I am currently very excited and ready to continue fomenting and inventing new forms of rupture with my own dogmas, fears and prejudices.

However, in legal matters, I received a notice regarding the collection of the fine I was given along with my sentence, advising me that the amount of 35,550 pesos must be paid in two weeks, when the term expires.

This fine has to be paid or in its absence I would have to pay with time, 550 days of imprisonment independent of my 6 year sentence.

Finally, for now that is what has happened. In any case, I will return to writing in the following days I hoping that there be rebellious energy.

Fernando Bárcenas
(June 4, 2017)

[1] Remember that compañero Fernando is in a segregation unit again as of September 2016, as the prison’s response to his last hunger strike.

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