>Juan Aliste Vega: The Emotional Battle

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from  http://thisisourjob.wordpress.com/2011/01/20/juan-aliste-vega-the-emotional-battle/

20 01 2011

Like Marcelo Villarroel and Freddy Fuentevilla, Juan Aliste Vega is a former MAPU-Lautarista facing charges for the October 18, 2007 Security Bank robbery in Santiago, Chile during which Carabinero Corporal Luis Moyano was shot and killed.
From Hommodolars Contrainformación (January 5, 2011):
“Concentration camps and death camps were created with the deranged intention of destroying lives, mentally and physically.”
It seems like a quote from the past, from some black-and-white war. The standards of another era, disassociated from the exemplary social order of the present.
Democracy functions, and prison is one of the pillars that supports the state. It is the result of an unjust and fundamentally unequal system, the symbol and cruel reflection of a repressive model that crushes poor people, capturing them and locking them up to be controlled and exterminated.
Everything reeks of imprisonment. It’s not just the stench of prison itself, but also the streets, the stairways, the government buildings, the bus, the metro, high school, university, work, the hospitals—an entire model ingrained, legitimized, imposed.
It is now administered by the democracy of the rich, who are protected by a strategic discourse that criminalizes and stigmatizes poverty. The contemporary political scene is enthralled by crime and the profitable prison business. The repressive state, perpetuating the status quo that guarantees extreme poverty and extreme wealth, responds with more repression and more prisons, constructed and operated under private-sector contracts.
Thus, prison is a great deal, more profitable than state investment in housing or education. A prisoner is a safe economic investment and a rewarding political investment. Private-sector contracts make prosperous businessmen out of those who would profit from cruelty, from the lives of the poor, from the guarantee of a fixed nonrefundable payment for each prisoner locked up in their modern dungeons. In Chile, we prisoners are an abundant commodity for the hyenas of the business world.
Their Methods and the Emotional Battle
Isolation is a weapon of vengeance, inhuman and degrading. Its lethal effects are managed to perfection (medical and psychological experts have confirmed this). Maximum security is a prison within the prison, where the sinister game of emotions and sensations is considered won in advance, exerting maximum control over the possibilities of mind and body: It aims for the slow destruction of convictions, of ideas, of our rebelliousness and dreams, of our joys, our loves, our lives.
Isolation is the state’s vile method of applying the death penalty in disguise, a sentence that is carried out every time a prisoner dies. We can verify this with the crude, sad, secretly buried statistic of one dead prisoner per week in this country’s prisons.
Every death in prison is an unpunished crime whose inescapable responsibility is borne by the state, its government by the rich, and its apparatus of social control: a system that criminalizes the poor, thus generating lethal conditions.
An international summit on human rights held in the Netherlands in 2002 concluded that: “Isolation is one of the most extreme forms of repression, comparable to physical torture or murder. It is a means to destroy ideas in general and political ideas in particular, a white torture conceived to eliminate the prisoner.”
Cruel revenge also buttresses the penitentiary system’s application of isolation—vengeance by the machinery of domination against those who fight back, those who resist and reject submission.
Let’s now give skin and bone to what we’ve been describing with words and concepts. Let’s add body heat to what would otherwise be mere discourse.
I was imprisoned for 12 years, then controlled by the parole system for nearly six more years, until I went underground. After three years of clandestinity, I was captured in Argentina and extradited to Chile via an abduction reminiscent of the methods of Operation Condor. I am currently facing trial in both military and civilian court. I write these lines from confinement inside a special Maximum-Security Wing (MAS) of High-Security Prison (CAS). Here I remain locked up for 22 hours a day in a concrete-and-metal box measuring two meters by three, all white and artificially lit, with a toilet, a shower, and a radio.
I get one hour under the sky in a six-by-five-meter area that could hardly be called a yard, surrounded by massive concrete walls. I get two-and-a-half hours a week of face-to-face visitation time with a maximum of five people, family only. This takes place in a narrow basement hallway that leaks waste water from the first floor. I live on the ground floor of the complex, completely alone. Despite the existence of eight cells similar to mine, they have been kept empty since I got here. The hallway has four cameras, and I am under 24-hour guard, with three gendarmes dedicated exclusively to watching me in eight-hour shifts. I am searched each time I enter or leave the cell. Any letters or news must be authorized. Whether coming in or out, our letters of love, friendship, and affinity are scanned and stored. Any books I receive must be original (no photocopies, reproductions, or independent/pirate editions). All the utensils are plastic. The food is restricted to three fruits. The colors I use to sketch the images in my memory and imagination are limited to ivory, grays, and blacks. The stench is of decay and more decay.
Visitor searches are excessive and unregulated. Our affections, joys, tears, kisses, and loving caresses are observed and controlled by cameras and the open ears of the gendarme in the stinking hallway. Added to the isolation is the impossibility of making love to my partner, as this is the only prison in Chile that doesn’t have conjugal visits. Thus, they nullify our ability to love.  This maddening punishment is also extended to our children, since these spaces don’t even meet the minimum standards of dignity or hygiene for adults, much less children—our cherished children.
Now They’re Talking About Us
About the events of December 8:
National radio interrupts the hits.
Television pauses the litany of Christmas market consumption, with its faces and tits.
The front pages of the newspapers carry no photos of the Copa Libertadores.
Now they’re talking about us, the poor, the marginalized. The Internet is overloaded with images. The world finds out there aren’t just miners in Chile, and we are among the top-three online search terms.
Now they’re talking about us, even in the name of god, and not just the one. There’s god the president, god the minister, god the specialist.
Now they’re talking about us, the poor, the maladjusted. Before the sun could even rise, the demented smiles of the jailers were consecrating their foul position in the service of the rich. Their cackling and their attitude were the fuel that fed the flames—the bloody inferno that incinerated the lives of 81 fathers, sons, brothers, and partners.
This time there was no big rescue. Eighty-one lives gone.
Now they’re talking about us, the poor, the prisoners of Chile.
—Juan Aliste Vega, Subversive imprisoned by the government of the rich

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