from a translated letter sent to FFI from D, currently detained at Stewart Detention Center

Hello, my name is D. I have been detained for seventeen months here in Stewart Detention Center in Georgia. I’ve been ordered deported for three and a half months because I lost my asylum claim, as well as my appeal.

What hurts me the most is that I’m not a criminal. My criminal record is clean. I presented myself at Matamoros. Here I am suffering a lot from all this confinement and isolation. There are a lot of Cubans here, friends of mine, who have been ordered deported for nine months and ICE only tells us lies. We’ve already tried strikes and uprisings, but nobody listens to us.

I’m like a lost child looking for a toy and I can’t find it. I feel lost, not being able to hug my family, who are citizens of the United States here in the country. They are also in despair because we don’t have support. Because the politicians only want to win a presidential election without having to know about any of the problems that we are going through locked up in here.

I am telling you that in Cuba I was a school teacher, teaching kids, and I fled my country because it’s a criminal dictatorship. I’m only asking for help because if I return they could kill me as someone who betrayed the regime. I’ve been out of the country for three years. I would enter illegally but my family wouldn’t know what to do with me. I have to pay with my life just because a judge spoke the words, “You don’t have asylum.” That changed my life. Tears are running from my eyes as I write these words.

It gives me a lot of happiness to know that there are people who support us and help us. For this I give many thanks and well wishes for sharing these difficult moments with us. We need people who give us strength. Thank you also for taking such great efforts to find solutions for our problems.

Thank you for all your support,

D from Cuba

Cover art by Jared Schwartz