Latin America is possibly the most unequal region in the world, with indigenous and other marginalized communities in rural and urban areas denied their right to health care, clean water, education and adequate housing despite the impressive growth of their national economies. Torture and other ill-treatment remain widespread.
In Argentina poor conditions, overcrowding, torture and other ill-treatment were reported in prisons and detention centres in 2009. In July, a judge ordered the immediate closure of two wings of the La Plata Detention Centre, which reportedly housed more than 50 young offenders, describing conditions there as “inhuman”. In Chile in November 2009 a regional prosecutor in Temuco charged three students linked to the Mapuche cause, one of whom was 16 years old, under an anti-terrorism law dating from the military government of Augusto Pinochet. The charge related to their alleged involvement in a Molotov bomb (home-made incendiary) attack on police. The government had given repeated assurances that it did not support the application of anti-terrorist legislation in cases involving Indigenous protests. In Venezuela the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ordered the authorities to implement measures to protect prisoners in Rodeo prison in the State of Miranda. Conditions in prisons led to a series of hunger strikes and other protests in jails throughout the country during 2008.
In today’s Mexico there are over 500 political prisoners, as registered by human rights organizations such as the Cerezo Committee, the National Coordination for the Freedom of Political Prisoners, the Mexican League of Human Rights and other organisations. There are also over 900 people persecuted for political reasons. The “democratic” government of Mexico refuses to accept the existence of this type of prisoners, who are considered “terrorists”, “kidnappers”, common criminals.
The numbers of political prisoners just add to the number of disappearances, assassinations, persecutions, uncountable harassments, beatings, and so on, that appear when a group of people speak out, protest, organise to improve their living conditions, to protect their environment against big corporations, or refuse to accept injustice as a natural condition. Many of the prisoners in Mexico are indigenous people who were not even given an interpreter for their defence; many of them environmental activists who oppose transnational corporations stealing the natural wealth; many of them had been captured in the frame of the massive police operatives to stop social mobilisations, as was the case during the 2006 upraising by the APPO in Oaxaca. In the Mexican jails there are several Zapatista supporters, students, and people defending their right to the land, human rights activists, and sacked workers demanding the right to work…
Below you can find translation of articles and other info about anti-prison struggles and libertarian prisoners in Latin American countries. La lucha sigue!