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Municipal Museum of Nueva Gerona
Birthplace Museum Jesús Montané Oropesa
Natural Science Museum
Museum House of Cayo Largo del Sur
José Martí House or Finca El Abra
El Pinero
Model Prison
Punta del Este Caves

Model Prison

Presidio ModeloThis installation is located south of the town Delio Chacon and about 5 kilometers from Nueva Gerona, bounded on the north and west with the road to Columbia, south to the small population settlement known as "Las conyugales" and west by the cast, "The Mangos "where the whole complex occupies an approximate area of ​​25.8 hectares and a floor space of about 29 360 square meters.

For its size and panoptic shape is unique in Latin America, made up of 34 buildings, in addition to the booths of the surveillance system and perimeter fence. The project was based in Joliet Prison, located in the state of Illinois, United States and the chief engineer of the original project was the architect Cesar E. War.

This prison was built between October 1925 and February 1932 under the regime of President Gerardo Machado, who laid the first stone on 1st. February 1926. The building began with the camp for the builders who were prisoners, and storage materials.

The selection of Isle of Pines for its location was due to its characteristics suitable for a work of this nature, because it was the most important island near Cuba, but not that evasion of prisoners constituted a threat to the rest of the country.

The initial objective of this work was to keep in custody sentenced people of common crimes in order to "sanitize" the society of criminals. That is why its name "Model".

The government's aspiration was that this prison could be an "anthropological laboratory" where the prisoners could be attended by lawyers, psychologists, teachers, doctors, etc.., and then be fully rehabilitated and return to society. But the results were quite the opposite. The intention had nothing in common with the reality. It actually became a "model" of crime, a crusher machine men, a factory of terror where severity, death, revenge, hunger, humiliation and torment.

With the arrival of Pablo de la Torriente Brau and other political activists to prison, this prison has the status of political as well, under these conditions and Second World War in full progress, the prison becomes a concentration camp for foreigners , as Japanese, Germans and Italians.Presidio Modelo

In the '50s, revolutionary onslaught grows in opposition to the new dictatorial regime of Fulgencio Batista after the coup on March 10, 1952. Since then, brave fighters suffered the rigor of this ignominious place, among them were the most radical and willing youth group led by Fidel Castro Ruz, after the epic of July 26, 1953, which marked the beginning of the new strategy of revolutionary struggle. This is where the whole process fertilized. From there, all those young people with ideas of independence and revolution sailed to Mexico. The time they spent in prison was used to prepare politically to study the essence of Martí and the fundamentals of Marxism – Leninism on which the Cuban revolution was based.

With the triumph of the Revolution, in 1967, the prison was closed down and in 1973; a museum was located in Hall No. 1 of the former prison hospital where the assailants on the Moncada barracks in Santiago de Cuba and Carlos Manuel de Cespedes in Bayamo suffered captivity.

Due to its historical importance, for being jailed within its walls two generations of the purest revolutionary rebellion, youths of the generation of the 30's and the Centennial Generation and for its architectural value, as it is a among the civil buildings, a remarkable example of the type prison building at the time. For that reason was declared a National Monument by Resolution No. 3 of the National Monuments Commission on October 10th 1978.

In its central building is located the pioneers Palacios (primary students) "May 15th", name given after the date of release of those who were imprisoned for the assault of the Moncada Barracks and Carlos Manuel de Cespedes.

© Isla de la Juventud 2011
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