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Bay of Pigs Prisoners Speak of Mistreatment in Cuban Jails

Dec. 23, 1962 - Mistreatment and neglect were the lot of Bay of Pigs prisoners held for the last 20 months in Cuba, several of the liberated men said in Miami tonight. They had poor food and not much of it. They were kept in overcrowded cell blocks with inadequate sanitary facilities. In many cases, they had no cots and had to sleep on floors without blankets. Medical care approached zero. No medicines were available and hospital treatment was impossible. Dr. Robert Hopkins, Dade County health department physician, explained why some of the prisoners looked reasonably healthy. “People can get on very well on a starch diet,” he said. “They don’t lose weight unless they get diarrhea.” Dr. Orlando Cuervo, 35, a lawyer, told of his experience for the last seven months in the Isle of Pines prison, where maximum security prisoners were held. “Two hundred and eleven of us were in one cell block,” he said. “We had only two toilets and one sink to wash ourselves. We had no shower baths. We slept on the floor. There were no cots and no mattresses, just the hot and cold floor,” a reference to the fact that the floor reflected changes in outdoor temperatures.


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