Saturday, August 21, 2010
Saul Landau y Danny Glober visitan a Gerardo
Fiscal del Caso Red Avispa
Guy Lewis Fiscal
Maria Elvira Periodista
Viaje de dos ancianos de la tercera edad
Visiting Gerardo in prison
Gore Vidal says, “Saul Landau is a man I love to steal ideas from”
FROM the Ontario California airport some 60 miles east of downtown Los Angeles we drove north on Highway 15, the road to Las Vegas. Cars with expectant amateur gamblers and loaded big rigs climb and descend the mountains where the Angeles and San Bernadino National Forests meet.
To the east lies the high desert, some 4,000 feet above sea level. Amidst junipers, Joshua trees and sagebrush we turn off from the man-made freeway to the jester’s creation of a shopping mall in Hesperia where we pick up Chavela, Gerardo Hernandez’ older sister.
We pass fast food joints with chain names, nail and hair salons, tattoo parlors, gas stations and mini-marts (a drive-by of American culture) going west and then north on 395 to the six-year-old U.S. Federal Penitentiary Complex, a 630,000 square foot high-security prison (it cost $101.4 million to build); designed to cage 960 male inmates.
In the institutional grey Visitors’ Lobby a guard hands us forms with numbers on top, nods at a book to sign and eye-signals to a pile of pens. We write, hand him back the forms and sit in the gray waiting room with other visitors – all black and Latino.
We wait for twenty minutes. A guard calls our number. We empty our pockets except for money. We pass through a sensitive airport-type screening machine, pick up our belts and eyeglasses that have gone through X-ray, and extend our inner forearms for stamping by another uniformed guard. Two black women and an elderly Latino couple get the same treatment. We exchange nervous smiles. Visitors in a strange land!
He passes our IDs through a drawer connected to another sealed room on the opposite side of a thick plastic window. A guard there checks the documents and pushes buttons to open a heavy metal door. The group enters an outdoor passage. Blinding, late-morning sun and desert heat shocks our bodies after the air-conditioned chambers. We wait. A guard confers through a small slit in the door of the building housing the inmates – gun towers on each side; masses of rolled barbed wire covering the tops of concrete walls.
We wait, get hot, then enter another air-cooled chamber; finally, a door opens into the visitor room. A guard assigns us a tiny plastic table surrounded by 3 three cheap plastic chairs, on one side (for us) and one on the other for Gerardo. African American and Latino children exchange places on their fathers’ laps as daddies in khaki prison overalls chat with their wives.
Chavela spots him 20 minutes later, waving and bouncing across the room smiling. Chavela, almost crying, says, "He’s lost weight." He seems the same weight as when (Saul Landau) saw him in the Spring. Gerardo hugs and kisses his sister, embraces Saul and then Danny, thanking him for his efforts to spring him from the hole, where he spent 13 days in late July and early August.
Gerardo informs us that two FBI agents investigating an incident unrelated to this case had questioned him in prison. Right after, prison authorities tossed Gerardo into the hole, although there existed no evidence, logic or common sense that could possibly have implicated him into the alleged unrelated incident. The temperatures inside the hole rose to the high nineties. "I had to use my drinking water to keep me cool, pouring it on head," Gerardo told us. "It didn’t help my high blood pressure. I couldn’t even take my medicine. But, I think, thanks to the thousands of phone calls and letters from people everywhere, they let me out."
El proximo viaje
Favor de llevar a Gerardo
un pan con lechon y un
libro de poemas de Angel Cuadra
Los dos berrinches de Fidel Castro y Cia
son el cubano Posada Carriles
y los Cinco Espias Embarcados Cubanos
Para continuar este pesimo arti-
culo favor de apretar abajo