The Dark Side of Paradise

There is a dark side to living in Paradise. A very dark side. In many ways, this country is a banana republic and a very unenlightened country. For example, many believe that homosexuality is a choice, and there are public demonstrations against homosexuality. This is in spite of the fact that of the two political parties, one of them is very popular and the majority of power brokers in the party are either homosexual or bisexual men.

But the darkest side of this tropical island is the criminal justice system and the archaic penal system. Amnesty International regularly castigates this country and it's leadership for man's inhumanity to man in this country. I have dealt in a small way with this topic before. In the September 2008 topics, I have a story called the Prison Bus:

And I have another story called Day in Court:

Both of these touch on the human misery of the justice system. For example, this country still has flogging and the cat of nine tails -- a medieval inhumane whip that takes flesh off the back with each stroke. The country believes in the shaming of prisoners. They dress them in prison stripes and make them wash the cars of police and officials in public. There are no toilets in the maximum security wing. Prisoners must use and carry slop buckets.

But the most disturbing part, is the overt violation of human rights. I warn you that the picture below is disturbing. Several prisoners escaped. A guard died in the escape. When they were captured, the prisoners were viciously beaten to within an inch of their lives. These are two such of those prisoners:

And yet, believe it or not, these are the lucky ones. The prisoner that was considered the ring leader was taken to the back of the bus, and calmly had his head blown off. The bullet also took out the back window of the bus. There was a big show of capturing the guard who did this extra-judicial killing, and then he was quietly released.

There is another side to the prison story as well. Illegal refugees end up in prison here. This country attracts Cubans escaping the regime of Fidel Castro. The Cubans are treated as a nuisance and are thrown in prison. Oftentimes, a whole group are tossed into a cell designed for two people. Their only hope is that a relative can come and bribe the guards to let them "escape". This happens on a regular basis.

The denizens of this country really and truly believe that punishment should be brutal, de-humanizing and cruel. They still hang people in the gallows here. However this dark side of paradise speaks loud and clear about how these methods work. Per capita, this country had the fourth highest murder rate in the world, and crime is out of control in certain districts. Business loss due to employee pilferage is stratospheric compared to other countries.

The dark side of paradise is effectively hidden from the millions of tourists who stop here for sun, sand and sea.

No comments: