The Bricklayer's Art And The Contours of Freedom

It is so easy to end up in prison, so short the road leading to a cell, we are all -- potentially -- convicts who pace the penitentiaries. A piece of beef bought in the black market, a couple sacks of cement purchased from an informal vendor, a piece of paper printed and distributed among a group of friends, or a furtive meeting to talk about the future, could lead us to these low-ceilinged prisons, concrete columns and photos of martyrs in the dining room. Freedom is usually considered an abstract concept, difficult to define or represent, a matter for philosophers; the prison, in contrast, is a thing of bricklayers, ironworkers and locksmiths. It is relatively easy to build a prison, what is hard is to outline the contours of freedom.

Here are some photos of the walls surrounding the Canaleta prison, in Ciego de Avila. I have several friends there, mostly independent journalists imprisoned since the Black Spring of 2003. Some of them dictate by telephone to various bloggers -- such as Claudia Cadelo, Ivan Garcia, Reinaldo Escobar and me--news that we post on the Internet. Which makes me think that there are no bars enclosing opinion and that cyberspace has the capability -- also -- to slip between the bricks and mortar of these dismal places.






Yoani's blog, Generation Y, can be read here in English translation.