DIARY OF A SURVIVOR: Nineteen Years in a Cuban Women's Prison by Aha & Glenn Garvin Rodriguez

DIARY OF A SURVIVOR: Nineteen Years in a Cuban Women's Prison

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A fiery prison memoir extolling the virtues of rebellion against oppression, against any odds, and no matter what the cost. From the moment of her 1962 arrest for counterrevolutionary activity in Fidel Castro's Cuba, Rodriguez refused to submit to the authority of her captors. Her career as a plantada (one who will not bend) began with mocking the state security troops who came to search her home and ended 19 years later when she was released in an attempt by Castro to score human rights points with the Carter administration. Rodriguez and her fellow political prisoners staged nearly daily protests in order to secure better living conditions and visitation rights, and to avoid being split up through unwanted transfers and forced into the general prison population. Armed only with fists, angry words, the toque de lata (banging loudly on the bars with metal objects), and the hunger strike, the women won battle after battle with prison authorities. Often badly beaten, denied medical treatment, placed in solitary confinement, and starved, the plantadas refused to succumb to the will of their tormentors. They managed to drive one prison administrator insane, burn down a jail as they were being relocated, and resist all attempts to ""reeducate"" them. Rodriguez herself escaped from prison twice -- once by pretending to be an evil spirit and walking directly past a superstitious guard -- and managed to stay out for six weeks by misleading a secret policeman into believing that she was in contact with the CIA, which was sending a special submarine guided by dolphins to pick her up. Rodriguez recounts her struggle with great passion and without a shred of self pity; only in retrospect does one realize that the best years of her life were needlessly wasted. No honest history of the Cuban revolution and its relation to American foreign policy can be written without reference to works such as this.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1995
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: St. Martin's