Jose A. Gutierrez-Solana Former Cuban political prisoner

In 1959, when Castro’s “revolution” triumphed, I looked at the new state of affairs in Cuba with optimism, as a development with very hopeful possibilities for the country. Soon, however, I began to realize that what was taking shape in the newly installed government was not the answer to Cuba’s problems.

I joined an uprising movement against the government in 1960. The government responded by rounding up lots of people in town: the friends, relatives, and acquaintances of the participants in the uprising. I was 19 years old then, and I was arrested.

There had been no trial, no formal charges filed against us. We were simply taken away and incarcerated for years. On the month of September of 1964, a so-called trial took place. One day about 600 of us were taken to a theater to face a Military Tribunal seen from a distance. There was no defense lawyer, just somebody who stood up and voiced an accusation. Afterwards, we went back to forced labor in prison. I never received any formal notification of what the charges against me were, or even what the sentence was. I spent 6 and 1/2 years in the Isle of Pines, about 2 years in La Cabaña in Havana and the rest in Manacas prison in Las Villas. I served a total of 10 years.
In 1979 I left my homeland of Cuba to Venezuela with my wife and two children after a declaration by the government that all ex-political prisoners that wanted to leave the Island could leave with the possession of a visa. I resided in Venezuela until I was able to immigrate my family to the United States. Since my arrival to the United States in 1987, I have been a member of the Union of Cuban Former Political Prisoners North Eastern Chapter. Within this organization I have continued to divulge my story and seek political change in Cuba.