[Marxism] Fw: Day 6: The Hunger Strike at Port Isabel Detention Center Continues

Erik Carlos Toren ectoren at sbcglobal.net
Mon Apr 27 08:20:38 MDT 2009

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: anayanse garza <anayanse at gmail.com>

6: The Hunger Strike for Justice at the Port Isabel Detention Center Continues
April 27, 2009
Anayanse Garza
Southwest Workers’ Union 
The Port Isabel Detention Center is an approximately 1,200 bed adult
female and male facility. The PIDC boasts that is one of the largest facilities
staffed by the Division of Immigration Health Services.
Approximately 3 weeks ago, Dora Schiriro, the special advisor on ICE
and retention and removal, visited both the Port Isabel Detention Center and
the Raymondville Detention Center.  During the time of her visit detainees believe that she truly did not
see the manner in which they are treated and the conditions that they are
subjected to because staff intentionally hid this from her.
According to detainees, The Port Isabel Detention Center is a “Gitmo
Light”, a prime example of what should NOT be happening at any of Detention
Centers.  However, staff at the facility
continue to hide the abuse.  Over the
last few months, detainees have made many complaints to Immigration and Customs
Enforcement (ICE) and facility operators of Ahtna Technical Services
Incorporated (ATSI), but the continued deplorable conditions have pushed
detainees to engage in non-violent protest.
On Wednesday April, 22, 2009, at least 70 detainees began to refuse
I visited the Port Isabel Detention Center after speaking with a close
friend of one of the detainees, Rama Carty.  Rama has been at the Port Isabel Detention Center since December.  
At the PIDC, there are 4 pods in each unit.  On Wednesday, April 22, 2009, 3 of the pods
in the Bravo Unit began to refuse food and initiated the hunger strike.  Rama Carty was one of those detainees.
After the hunger strike began, Field Director Michael Watkins then
began to talk to detainees.  Talks
continued for 3 days in an attempt to talk detainees into giving up the hunger
strike.  During this time, 10 of the
hunger strikers were separated to a different unit called the Charlie Unit by
themselves as a divide and conquer strategy.  Although Rama and possibly other detainees continue to also participate
in the hunger strike, they were not placed with the other 10 detainees.  
The snack machine was taken out of the Charlie Unit and officials
claimed that this was to make sure they were not eating and necessary in order
to monitor the condition of the detainees on the strike.  However, during that same time period when
press contacted the ICE about this their response was :“the hunger strike is ended and all persons are accepting their
meal trays.”  However, individuals continue
the hunger strike.
According to Rama, detainees like himself want to expose the following: 
·         Detainees on the Hunger Strike must be allowed
visitation of sympathizers and press during the required hours to make a public statement of the true nature of their situation.
·         Detainees on the hunger strike hope to bring
attention to the physical and verbal abuse that detainees are subjected to by
the guards.  
·         Detainees are not getting the required medical
attention they need if they are ill or have medical complications.
·         Detainees face a situation in which there are
grossly insufficient legal resources available to them.
·         Detainees have stated that they face violations
to their due process rights, do not receive adequate medical attention, and
have experienced physical and verbal abuse from ICE and ATSI officers.
·         Detainees encourage the community to support
them in the hunger strike by taking actions that bring public attention to the
reasons they initiated the hunger strike.
The detention centers are being used as a tool to sweep people out of
the United States.  
Operations at these facilities continue to be the gatekeeper of the
former administration, implementing the same harsh treatment and injustice as
before through the obstruction of justice and denying detainees their right to
due process, healthcare, and freedom from physical and verbal abuse.  
Mark Bevans, whose brother is being detained there said, “my brother
was physically abused there and was refused medical care until his consulate
was notified and advocated for him to receive the attention he needed. He is
from New York, and they took him away from all his resources. They are not
giving him a fighting chance to get out by putting him all the way down there.
It’s hard.” 
Catherine Yee, a loved one of a detainee said, "the point of this
hunger strike is to let the media and the community know that the detainees'
rights are really being violated. My boyfriend has been there for over 180 days
and they cannot deport him since the country where he was born does not
recognize him as their national. He is thousands of miles away from his home
and attorney in Boston, and he is not getting medical care."
I, Anayanse Garza, visited the PIDC on
Saturday, April 25, 2004.  I made this
statement after speaking with Rama Carty, a detainee at the Center. 
As a side note, on Friday, April 24, 2009,
when I tried to call Rama to notify him of my visit, I left my name and phone
number as is required so that he could then return my call.  Rama was given the wrong phone number and we
were unable to communicate.  Detainees
should be able to rely on efficient communication.
On Saturday, April 25, 2009, upon entering
the facility I was asked to leave my belongings in a locker, when the guards were
asked if they allowed pen and paper into the visitation area they told me that
I would not be allowed to take neither a pencil/pen nor paper.  When I sat down to visit with Rama, he told
me that they had lied to me.  It is not
against regulation to have pen and paper when visiting.  These are only a few of the misinformation
that has been generated in the short time I have been in contact with the Port
Isabel Detention Center.  I can only
imagine how this can escalate for detainees who must tolerate this attitude for
month and some of them for years in a solitary detention facility like the
Southwest Workers’ Union stands in
solidarity with the Detainees at the Port Isabel Detention Center who initiated
and continue their hunger strike for justice.
-Anayanse Garza
Southwest Workers’ Union

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