This work presents a rare journalistic first hand account of the inner workings of a Cuban prison from the perspective of a political prisoner. Written by a celebrated Spanish writer who was involved with the establishment of modern journalism, it deals directly with issues of race and class relations as well as sexuality and violence. "Del Cautiverio/On Captivity" is an account of journalist and novelist Manuel Ciges Aparicio's imprisonment in La Cabana fortress/prison in Havana during the 1895-1898 Cuban War of Independence. As punishment for an intercepted article critical of General Valeriano Weyler's policies, Ciges was accused of treason and faced execution. Ciges recounts many details of historical interest regarding prison organization, perceptions of political events and personalities and the daily life of prisoners while his graphic, horrific account raises issues as compelling now as they were at the turn of the century. How were Spanish prisons run? How did the men cope with class, race and sexual relations? Finally, Ciges - the only one of the so-called Generation of 1898 to serve in Cuba - bore valuable witness as a freethinker and political skeptic to the 'Disaster'.
This account is also relevant to contemporary controversies swirling around U.S. practices regarding detainees suspected of terrorism and the prisons in which they are confined. But it is, above all, an arresting, unforgettable depiction of a cruel and tragic period in Cuban history.
Publisher: The Edwin Mellen Press Ltd