Cristina G. Cabezas

* 1932

  • “The person who promises people that they will have equality throughout the population, saying that the rich cannot exist and the poor will continue to be poorer, that person is not good, that person is a Communist. Because if someone studies and works to have a high economic, political, cultural and social level deserves to obtain it. Because if you worked hard for it, you must obtain it. And if someone does not do that and is satisfied with being very poor, we have to respect that he did not want to, and we have to respect him without mistreating him and without taking away his rights, but instead respecting them, mutually. The rich are not necessarily bad for society, the ‘bad’ is how they use their wealth and power.”

  • “Sometimes they were transferred, but sometimes visits were more frequent for those who were in the plan [the prisoners who joined the rehabilitation plan]. To tell the truth... The fact that they were in the plan did not make them enemies, they were still our friends. And what we maintained was respect, both on the part of those who entered the plan, and on the part of those who did not enter it. We were always prisoners, though sometimes they were given permission to visit their families. For one day or something like that. But there were no big differences in our treatment, especially for these people who had to listen to their piffle, which was worse than if you were physically mistreated, because you had to put up with someone who was your actual enemy, giving you a talk about the benefits of the system, which was not easy.”

  • “In Cuba at that time, in 1961... sorry, 1965, because already in 1961 things were very difficult. In 1965 I was taken to the women’s prison in Guanajay, in what was then the province of Pinar del Río but has since been changed in province and everything. Anyway… At that time, the Guanajay women’s prison that had been created in 1945 served as a political prison for ordinary women, for women who exist in ever country in the world, and who have to serve a sentence. At that time, it was for political prisoners. In other words, the prisoners who were confined in that place for political reasons. [Q: You were condemned in 1965?] In 1965, and I was released six years later, in 1971. That prison was something like a concentration camp, I would say. Women from underaged girls to people in their sixties, seventies.”

  • “Until that point, more or less, it was still possible to tolerate the system that today devastates Cuba, my country, but at no time did my democratic formation agree with that man [Fidel Castro], who from the beginning exercised power in an absolutistic way, without allowing for even peaceful disagreement with things that one did not approve of for the simple reason of having a different opinion.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Miami, Florida, USA, 16.04.2018

    duration: 01:06:32
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

The rich are not necessarily bad for society, the “bad” is how they use their wealth and power

Cristina Cabegas, 2018
Cristina Cabegas, 2018
photo: Post Bellum

Cristina Cabezas was born in 1932 in the Cuban capital of Havana. Her family was of Lebanese origin and her parents arrived in Cuba at the beginning of the 20th century. Cristina was born in a humble environment, with meagre economic resources. She was the eleventh daughter of the family. Despite being a family of workers, it was always emphasized that they had to respect others and that is why Cristina, as an adult, did not like the totalitarian way of running the country that was practiced by Fidel Castro. She studied Commercial Sciences at university and was also trained as a transfusion technician. Then she started working in a flower shop, whose owners were forced to leave the country because of their militancy against the regime. At that time, Cristina began to meet with people who were also against Cuban totalitarianism. As a result, the police pursued her until they found her in a house of her friends. After the arrest, the judicial process was quite fast and did not comply with any standards of fair trial. She was imprisoned in Guanajay in the province of Pinar del Río. She spent six years in prison, between 1965 and 1971. She witnessed a systematic violation of human rights, deprivation of medical assistance and emotional blackmailing of political prisoners. Released in 1971, after working for some time in a hospital, she left Cuba in 1980 to be able to report cases of abuse, including that of her husband, also a dissident and political prisoner. She spoke about prison conditions in countries such as France, the Netherlands, and the United States.