Statements

Statement on the Burning death of 350 Prisoners in Honduras

The truth is that colonialism was responsible for the more than 350 young Raza burned to death at La Granja penitentiary in Comayagua

On Tuesday night, February 14th, 2012, the world experienced one of the worst prison fires in history. At least 357 prisoners were burned to death in a fire a La Granja penitentiary in Comayagua, Honduras.

Those who witnessed the fire described the worst type of human suffering imaginable. For hours –burning, suffocating, and screaming men could be heard.

Survivors described horrific scenes of prisoners being burned alive as they sought to escape by climbing walls and breaking the sheet metal roofing. When rescue crews entered the prison compound, they found prisoners literally stuck to the roofing -their bodies bounded like glue to the metal.

Bodies were found in bathrooms, showers, and sinks, where inmates fled hoping the water would save them from the flames. Prisoners died tangled together in bathtubs and laundry sinks. “It was something horrible,” said survivor Eladio Chica. “I only saw flames, and when we got out, men were being burned, up against the bars, they were stuck to them.”

Read full article, click here.

Download a pdf version of the article, click here.

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Statement of Support for the California Prison Hunger Strike

Prisons: Terror For The Poor – Profits For The Rich
SUPPORT THE CALIFORNIA PRISONER HUNGER STRIKE!

On July 1, 2011, hundreds of inmates in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay California State Prison, located near the Oregon border, went on a hunger strike to protest conditions in the isolation units known as the SHU. The strike immediately spread to 13 of the state’s 33 prisons, such as Corcoran, Tehachapi, Centinela, and Calipatria. The strike, led by and organized by the prisoners themselves, is calling for an end to the horrific and dehumanizing conditions imposed on thousands of prisoners who find themselves in solitary confinement (SHU).

The prisoners have outlined five core demands:

1. Eliminate group punishments. When an individual prisoner breaks a rule, the prison often punishes a whole group of prisoners of the same race.
2. Abolish the debriefing policy and modify active/inactive gang status criteria. Prisoners are accused of being active or inactive participants of prison gangs using false or highly dubious evidence, and are then sent to long-term isolation (SHU). They can escape these tortuous conditions only if they “debrief” [snitch] –that is, provide information on gang activity.
3. Comply with the recommendations of the US Commission on Safety and Abuse in Prisons (2006) regarding an end to long-term solitary confinement. Some prisoners have been kept in isolation for more than thirty years.
4. Provide adequate food. Prisoners report unsanitary conditions and small quantities of food that do not conform to prison regulations.
5. Expand and provide constructive programs and privileges for indefinite SHU inmates. The hunger strikers are pressing for opportunities “to engage in self-help treatment, education, religious and other productive activities…” [see: Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Blog]

SHU VIOLATES INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS STANDARDS
Prisoners and prisoner rights advocates have long complained that the SHU amounts to torture. They have pointed to the fact that the methods practiced in the SHUs, in most instances, stand in violation of international human rights standards found in the U.N. (United Nations) Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the U.N.’s Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners. [Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners. Adopted and proclaimed by U.N. General Assembly resolution 45/111 , on December 14, 1990]

The SHU cells are about the size of an apartment bathroom, have no windows, inmates spend 22 1/2 hours a day in their cells, and allowed only an hour a day for a walk or exercise in fenced cages which are nothing but “dog runs”. Inmates are not allowed contact with anyone and the cells are soundproofed, thus denied sensory stimulation.

PRISONERS ARE EXPOSED TO VIOLENCE AND DISEASE
In late June of this year (2011), a three-judge state court ordered the reduction of the prison population as it violated the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. It found that the over crowding led to the deprivation of medical and other essential services. According the court ruling, the prison conditions expose inmates to a high level of violence and disease –often leading to mental illness. About two thirds of prisoner suicides take place while they are in solitary confinement.

PRISONS ARE HUMAN WAREHOUSES AND CONCENTRATION CAMPS
At Pelican Bay, up to 400 inmates, of all races, have been participating in the hunger strike and statewide up 1,000 prisoners, in some form, are involved in the strike. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officials themselves said that up 6,600 inmates joined the strike at its peak over the Fourth of July weekend — making it the largest prison hunger strike in California in more than ten years.

The Chicano Mexicano Prison Project (CMPP) is in complete support of the just demands of the prisoners. Founded in 1993, as a project of Unión del Barrio, the CMPP became aware that prisoners were planning a hunger strike during the dialogue took place at its annual Conference On Raza Prisoners and Colonialism (June 11, 2011, San Diego, Califaztlán).

The CMPP understands that prisons are nothing but human warehouses and concentration camps for oppressed nationalities (Mexicans-Raza, Africans, etc.) and poor and working class people (of all races).

The truth is that the U.S. prison system or “Prison Industrial Complex”, the largest in the world, has become a major producer of wealth –where a tiny group of capitalists make billions of dollars out of the misery of poor and working class people.

PRISONS ARE CAPITALIST-IMPERIALISTS INSTITUTIONS

Prisons are capitalism-imperialist/colonialist institutions used to keep the masses from struggle and from participation in the national liberation movements found within the current borders of the U.S. The CMPP recognizes that prisons and prison torture cannot be eliminated until we eliminate capitalism. Therefore our struggle is not one just against prisons, but against the conditions in society which force many into crime and those that profits from their incarceration.

Whether the just demands of the striking prisoners are met or not, the hunger strike demonstrates the high level of unity (among all races) and organizing capabilities of the masses when they are conscious and prepared to fight for what is just and right. In struggle, there are no defeats if those involved learn from their experiences.

Support The Prisoner Hunger Strike! – Consciousness and Unity!
¡Todo Poder Al Pueblo!
¡Venceremos!

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STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF THE PRISON STRIKE IN GEORGIA:

PRISONER ABUSE IS TERROR SUPPORTED BY THE U.S. CAPITALIST RULING CLASS

December 15, 2010

It has come to the attention of the Chicano Mexicano Prison Project (CMPP) that a massive prison strike is presently taking place in many of the prisons in the state of Georgia. The strike, in which the prisoners are refusing to come out of their cells and participate in any activities, began on December 9, 2010 and is now in its 6th day.   Called a “Lockdown For Liberty” by the prisoners, the strike’s central demand is for all prisoners to be treated as humans and not as slaves or animals.

PRISON ABUSE IS THE NORM THROUGHOUT THE BELLY OF THE BEAST
Prisoners for years have complained of violence, destruction of personal items, lack of medical attention, unwarranted harassment, illegal denial of privileges, unhealthy meals, cruel punishments (months and years in solidarity confinement), lack of rehabilitation/education programs, and refusal of visits from family –perpetrated and condoned by prison authorities. These conditions are the norm not only in Georgia, but also throughout the belly of the imperialist beast known as the United States. They are conditions of terror-abuse supported by the capitalist ruling class, its politicians, and the mainstream media.

The CMPP, founded in 1993 by Unión del Barrio, one of the most consistent groups fighting for the human rights of Mexican-Raza prisoners –is in absolute support of the state-wide prisoner strike occurring in Georgia.   We stand on the side of justice and peace, and support all actions that will lead to the end of the mass incarceration of the poor and working class and the oppressed-colonized nations found within the belly of the beast (United States).

PRISONS BREED RACISM AND OPPRESS NATIONS
Our position has always been a stance that recognizes and exposes the U.S. prison/concentration camp system as one that:
• is used to breed racism; a tool to divide the workers, poor people, nationalities, and the various ethnic groups living within the boundaries of the beast
• is used to justify the continuing oppression and colonization of Africans, Mexican-Indigenous-Raza, Asians, and Pacific Islanders
• is used as a business (Prison Industrial Complex) by the capitalist-pigs to further enrich themselves
• is used as institutions for the physical and psychological torture of poor and working class people –with the goal of imposing fear on those, inside and outside prisons, who might have rebellion on their minds

In conclusion, the CMPP understands that only the destruction of capitalism-colonialism will put an end to the mass incarceration of workers and oppressed/colonized nations.

All Power To The People!
Down With Racism/Capitalism/Colonialism!
Venceremos

Download statement in PDF, click here.