BOGOTA, COLOMBIA – Ariz Carrillo spent two years and five months locked behind bars at one of Colombia’s maximum security prisons, La Tramacua – a place so renown for its human rights abuses that it has been dubbed “the Guantanamo of Colombia”.
“For no reason, only because I was a political prisoner. They tortured me like that just for being part of an organization,” said Carrillo.
The jail is even worse for political prisoners. This includes guerrilla fighters, human rights workers, social movement leaders, union representatives, small farmer organizations or other government critics, who are sent to La Tramacua for special punishment.
The prison is situated in the northern Caribbean region of the country, where the heat regularly reaches up to 100 degrees Fareinheit (almost 40 degrees Celsius). There is no ventilation system in this sweltering heat, prisoners are not allowed to have fans, and the prison is also severely overcrowded.
But any one of those people behind bars will tell you that the worst part is the lack of water. The water is only turned on for about 10 or 20 minutes each day, and even then it only ever reaches the first floor. Prisoners are expected to collect what they will need for the day in those few minutes of access time, which often leaves the 1,448 inmates wanting.