ESPACIO PUBLICITARIO
CARACAS, Tuesday February 05, 2013 | Update
 
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OPINION

Imprisoned

MICHAEL ROWAN |  EL UNIVERSAL
Tuesday February 05, 2013  09:15 AM
Imagine you are imprisoned in Venezuela. Like most of the 45,000 inmates, you have not been tried and convicted by a just court but are serving the sentence time anyway. Each day you seek justice but no one hears you – even your family is afraid to visit. Each day the blood of another inmate stains the floor from anonymous killings that have become as routine as cats run over in a merciless highway. Each day your cramped space is invaded by newly arriving prisoners squashed into place so now there are four people living, if that's the word for it, where there are supposed to be one. Each day you close your eyes for the briefest of seconds and hope to God you will live to the next, but then wonder why. Each day you witness the theft, drugs, rape, murder, sickness, beatings and threats that happen all around you, so close that you can smell the sweat of fear -your sweat, your fear. Each day depression creeps further into your mind, like a cloud of misted tears, smoothing out everything, tempting you to stare like a catatonic idiot into the face of death and smile benignly like an idiot. Are you going crazy or are you already well and gone?

And then one day there is a great heaving movement of the inmates in the prison. You hear their shouts and barks followed by bursts from assault rifles nearby. You wonder whether it is better to move toward or away from the shooting –maybe the place is being liberated. You smell the blood and hear the death well before a military man –he's younger than your children– bursts into the room firing. You dive to the infested floor as hundreds of steel-jacketed rounds splash through bodies like hot knives through warm butter. Buried alive under several bleeding inmate bodies, you hide until the killers move on, reloading. You can't breathe. You're unsure whether you've been wounded or as luck might have it, killed. You're wondering whether death would be good or bad luck when a radio within earshot reports that inmates rioted but the government is now in control of the situation. You try to laugh but can't catch a breath. You close your eyes praying to Jesus they never have to open again.

michaelrowan22@gmail.com


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