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Manuel Orcarberrio

Manuel Orcarberrio


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Manuel Orcarberrio was born in Cuba but moved to the United States after Fidel Castro gained power. Orcarberrio joined Alpha 66 and became leader of its Dallas chapter. In 1962 and 1963 Alpha 66 launched several raids on Cuba. This included attacks on port installations and foreign shipping.

Some researchers believe that Orcarberrio, along with Felipe Vidal Santiago and Herminio Diaz Garcia was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy on 22nd November, 1963.

Individuals like Manuel Orcarberrio who ran the Dallas Chapter of Alpha 66 I believe was in place to provide logistical support for Felipe Vidal Santiago when he was in Dallas. There may also have been runners used from anti-Castro organizations but they would have been on a need to know. I'm sure after the assassination, many figured out that they may have played a small role and decided to make themselves scarce.


Before the Death of Manuel Ellis, a Witness Told the Police: ‘Stop Hitting Him’

The mayor of Tacoma, Wash., called for the firing and prosecution of officers involved in the arrest of Mr. Ellis after video clips of the encounter emerged.

TACOMA, Wash. — A woman who witnessed the arrest of Manuel Ellis, a black man who died during the police encounter in Tacoma, Wash., has come forward to dispute the account provided by the police, saying officers themselves had initiated a confrontation so violent that she yelled at them to “stop hitting him.”

Sara McDowell, who was in a car behind the officers, said Friday in an interview that she saw Mr. Ellis approach the police car late on the night of March 3 for what she initially thought was a friendly conversation. But that suddenly changed, she said, when an officer threw open the car door and knocked Mr. Ellis to the ground.

The police have provided a different account, saying that Mr. Ellis initiated the confrontation when he picked up a police officer and threw him to the ground, prompting officers to move in to restrain him.

Ms. McDowell, who recorded parts of the encounter on video, said that the violence of the police response had appeared to her to be unprovoked.

In brief video clips captured by Ms. McDowell, the officers can be seen punching Mr. Ellis, 33, while he was on the ground. On one of the video clips, her voice can be heard calling out to them: “Stop. Oh my God, stop hitting him. Just arrest him.”

“I was terrified for his life, honestly,” Ms. McDowell said. “The way that they attacked him didn’t make sense to me. I went home and was sick to my stomach.”

Mr. Ellis died in the minutes following his arrest after pleading, “I can’t breathe” — an eerie echo of some of the final words from other black men who have died in police custody, including Eric Garner and George Floyd.

Ms. McDowell said she did not realize until this week that Mr. Ellis had died in the aftermath of what she saw.

Detective Ed Troyer of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, which has been investigating the death, said authorities have not had a chance to speak with Ms. McDowell but had further evidence they have not yet disclosed and would not share it until the case had been brought to prosecutors next week.

The county medical examiner, Dr. Thomas Clark, listed the cause of death as “hypoxia due to physical restraint,” according to a copy of the report provided by the family’s lawyer on Friday night. It concluded that his death was a homicide but also said it was unlikely that his death would have occurred because of physicial restraint alone, saying methamphetamine intoxication and heart disease were factors.

Dr. Clark’s report said Mr. Ellis had enough methamphetamine in his system to be fatal, but he said paramedics initially found him to have a normal heartbeat. At the same time, he was close to respiratory arrest. Dr. Clark said it was possible that the most important factor in his death was oxygen deprivation “as a result of physical restraint, positioning, and the placement of a mask over the mouth.”

The report said officers had placed a “spit hood,” a device used to keep someone from spitting or biting, over Mr. Ellis’s mouth.

After Ms. McDowell’s videos were posted online on Thursday, Tacoma’s mayor, Victoria Woodards, released a video message late that night saying she was enraged by what she saw and was directing the city manager to fire all of the officers involved.

“The officers who committed this crime should be fired and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Ms. Woodards said.

While the videos show only two officers arresting Mr. Ellis, the Tacoma Police Department has identified four officers involved in the arrest: Christopher Burbank, 34 Matthew Collins, 37 Masyih Ford, 28 and Timothy Rankine, 31. Two of the officers are white, while one is black and one is Asian, according to the Police Department.

After the death, the officers had been placed on leave but then returned to work because no policy violations were found. They were placed on leave again this week.

On the night of his death, Mr. Ellis had been jubilant after playing drums at a church service, family and friends said. Marcia Carter, his mother, said he called her late that night as he returned home and told her that he was feeling good.

“I’m just coming from church, Mom, feeling real good,” Ms. Carter recalled him saying. “I’m ready to give my life to Christ. I want to live it right. I want to raise my kids. I want to be around in their lives. I want to do the right thing.”

Family members said he later went out to get a snack from a convenience store.

Detective Troyer said earlier that before the arrest, Mr. Ellis was bothering people in vehicles, approached the officers and then violently attacked one of them when they stepped out of the vehicle, throwing one officer to the ground.

The first video captured by Ms. McDowell begins in the middle of the encounter, showing two officers taking Mr. Ellis to the ground on the road in front of some garbage cans. With Mr. Ellis on his back, one of the officers got down on his knees and began punching Mr. Ellis.

In a later clip, as Ms. McDowell drove past the scene, video showed the officers asking Mr. Ellis to put his hands behind his back. The officers appeared to have Mr. Ellis subdued and on his side.

Detective Troyer said earlier this week that Mr. Ellis at one point called out, “I can’t breathe,” and the officers called for medical support and propped Mr. Ellis on his side. He has said that Mr. Ellis was breathing when medics arrived but that though personnel worked on him for more than half an hour, he did not survive.

The officers were not wearing body cameras, and Ms. Woodards said Thursday that she would push to get funding for body cameras.


'The Past Isn't Done With Us,' Says 'Hamilton' Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda

Lin-Manuel Miranda and Phillipa Soo return as Alexander and Eliza Hamilton, the roles they played in the original Broadway production of Hamilton. A film production of the show, taped in 2016, debuts on Disney+ on Friday. Disney+ hide caption

Lin-Manuel Miranda and Phillipa Soo return as Alexander and Eliza Hamilton, the roles they played in the original Broadway production of Hamilton. A film production of the show, taped in 2016, debuts on Disney+ on Friday.

For Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the hip-hop musical Hamilton, history always informs the present. "The past isn't done with us. Ever, ever, ever," he says.

Hamilton tells the story of the nation's Founding Fathers, including Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton. Miranda wrote the music and lyrics and starred in the original production, which debuted on Broadway in 2015. The production garnered 11 Tony Awards, a Pulitzer Prize for drama and a Grammy for its original cast recording.

Miranda says he's been heartened to see the musical's lyrics — including "I'm past patiently waiting" and "History has its eyes on you" — printed on signs at Black Lives Matter protests around the country.

"When you write a musical that brushes against sort of the origins of this country, it's always going to be relevant," he says. "The fights we had at the [country's] origin are the fights we're still having. . I've always said that slavery is the original sin of this country."

A film of the original Broadway production of Hamilton, taped in 2016, will begin streaming on Disney+ on Friday. Miranda, who stars in the title role, calls the film a "a love letter and thank you" to the company.

Theater

Lin-Manuel Miranda On Disney, Mixtapes And Why He Won't Try To Top 'Hamilton'

"It's probably the best rehearsed movie cast of all time, because we'd been doing our roles for a year," Miranda says. "It's not a definitive production of a live Hamilton, but it is a snapshot of what it felt like with that company at the end of June of 2016."

Interview Highlights

On the way Hamiltonfits into the country's current conversation about systemic racism and the legacy of slavery

[Slavery] is in the third line of our show. It's a system in which every character in our show is complicit in some way or another. And again, I think different things resonate differently. .

Hamilton — although he voiced anti-slavery beliefs — remained complicit in the system. And other than calling out Jefferson on his hypocrisy with regards to slavery in Act 2, doesn't really say much else over the course of Act 2. And I think that's actually pretty honest. . He didn't really do much about it after that. None of them did. None of them did enough. And we say that, too, in the final moments of the song. So that hits differently now because we're having a conversation, we're having a real reckoning of how do you uproot an original sin?

Theater

Lin-Manuel Miranda Sees The 'Language Of Revolution' In 'Hamilton' And Today

On creating Broadway roles for people of color with Hamilton

Listen, I'm a musical theater composer because I couldn't be just a musical theater actor. If I'd settled for being a musical theater actor I'd be hopefully auditioning for a bus-and-truck [production] of West Side Story somewhere. . The realization landed on me early, like there's no life for you in musical theater because there are no parts. And In the Heights [Miranda's first Broadway production] really came out of a result of seeing [and] writing what I saw as missing in the musical theater canon for Latinos, and really as simple as: Can we not be holding knives in a gang in the '50s? Because that exists. And like, what do we have to show for it nearly 50 years later?

And so every time I write a piece of theater, I'm trying to get us on the board. And that continued with Hamilton, of, how can we write the parts that I didn't see existing? Really, the only thing I saw that really gave me permission to write musicals was Rent, which was an incredibly diverse cast. And I went from being a fan of musicals to writing musicals when I saw that show, because it was the thing that gave me permission. It was contemporary, and it had Latino actors and Black actors, and it told me you're allowed to write what you know into a show. No other musical had told me that. . It's been gratifying to see how these shows Heights and Hamilton in particular, not only provide employment, but also provide like permission and amplification of a lot of other voices.

On this work being ongoing

Music

'Hamilton' Cast Reunites For Emily Blunt, John Krasinski And One Lucky 9-Year-Old

I never bought into the illusion that the Obamas being in the White House ended racial issues in our country. Just the same way I used to get the question all the time in that first year of, "Now that Hamilton's here, do you feel like Broadway will be more diverse?" And I was like, no, because shows take years to develop. And I know what's in the pipeline, and it's not [diverse]. Next year is going to be even whiter than this year was. . I gird myself for the whiplash in both the country and the particular corner of the world that is theater.

On being a Puerto Rican kid

I went to a school with not a lot of other Latino kids. I think [there was] one other Puerto Rican kid in my grade. And so for me, it was this fantastic secret. And my parents were so proudly Puerto Rican and so pro-learning [of our] heritage that I was proud that I got extra Three Kings Day on top of Christmas. .

I also would spend my summers on [Puerto Rico], this beautiful island where my grandparents both worked. My grandmother ran a travel agency, and my grandfather was a bank manager. And I bounced between their businesses eating candy and left to my own devices, exploring town, and was sort of spoiled rotten in this incredible landscape. .

So it to me, it felt additive. But it also wasn't something I brought to school much. And I think a lot of In the Heights was me learning to bring all of myself in the room. I let most folks call me Lin. My parents and my wife call me Lin-Manuel, and a lot of what In the Heights was about was bringing Lin-Manuel into the same room where Lin was writing musicals and sort of using all of myself to write.

On seeing his musical In the Heights brought to the screen on a large scale — the film is scheduled for release in 2021

Music

Watch The First Full Trailer For Lin-Manuel Miranda's 'In The Heights' Film

I have to give [director] Jon [M. Chu] a lot of credit, because he had a big vision for it, and it was bigger than even my vision of it. I always sort of pictured it as this little indie musical and hopefully we could film it in our neighborhood, because I just don't think any other neighborhood looks like [New York City's] Washington Heights. Demographics aside, the hills and the bridge and the literal heights of it, I find it breathtaking every day. I breathe easier when I'm in it.

But Jon also was coming off the success of Crazy Rich Asians. And what he learned on that was, we don't get a lot of opportunities like this, so we have to swing big. And he really lobbied for a big movie that is also set in this neighborhood. And so filming last summer was one of those joyous experiences of my life because, again, I was writing songs about this neighborhood I loved to be performed onstage. But then to see those songs reinterpreted on the streets where I was writing them was breathtaking.

On not putting pressure on himself to be creatively productive during the pandemic

[I] feed so much on the energy of the city, and I miss that. One of my favorite writing spots is actually taking the train, because you kind of choose your level of engagement. I can sit in a corner of the A train. I can absorb the energy from the folks around me, whatever mariachi or break-dancing group might be happening, wherever folks are getting on and whatever lives are coming on and off the train. And I still have my headphones on and still be in my bubble and write. It's like all of the energy of interaction without necessarily being drawn out of the writing trance. So I think I miss that the most. .

The world is being remade in a fundamentally different way because of this pandemic, and just because of where we are. And artists have to give themselves the latitude to acknowledge that. So give yourself a break if you're not writing right now.

I'd love to be able to tell you that I am writing King Lear or the sonnets now that the plagues have closed all the playhouses. I'm afraid I can't, because I'm as worried about the world as anyone else. I think I wake up with stomachaches more often than I don't, because I worry about what's going on. I worry about my city reopening too soon and having a second spike. I worry about the protesters and hoping they're OK. I worry about all the things everyone is worried about.

And I find that because I'm home, it is harder to . distance myself from those thoughts. . And I think that's OK. Like, the world is being remade in a fundamentally different way because of this pandemic, and just because of where we are. And artists have to give themselves the latitude to acknowledge that. So give yourself a break if you're not writing right now.

Lauren Krenzel and Seth Kelley produced and edited this interview for broadcast. Bridget Bentz, Molly Seavy-Nesper and Beth Novey adapted it for the Web.


Lin-Manuel Miranda First Met His Wife, Vanessa Nadal, in High School

They reconnected years later when he slid into her Facebook DMs.

If, like the rest of the world, you've been devouring Hamilton since it dropped on Disney+, and excitedly following the show's Golden Globe nominations, then you're likely wondering about Lin-Manuel Miranda's marital status. Alongside Hamilton's nomination in the Best Motion Picture&ndashMusical or Comedy category, Miranda received a nod for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture&ndashMusical or Comedy, which is completely unsurprising, tbh.

Fans of the Oscar-winning composer might not realize that Miranda has been happily married for a decade to a woman he went to high school with. Nadal describes herself as an "attorney, engineer, profesora," on her Twitter acount. Here's everything else you need to know about Lin-Manuel Miranda's wife, Vanessa Nadal.

They attended the same high school.

Although they never dated as teenagers, Miranda and Nadal both attended Hunter College High School. Upon the couple's wedding in 2010, The New York Times reported, "throughout his senior year Mr. Miranda could never manage to talk to Vanessa Adriana Nadal, a Latino sophomore he admired." The composer told the newspaper, "She was gorgeous and I&rsquom famously bad at talking to women I find attractive. I have a total lack of game."

Lin-Manuel Miranda reached out to his future wife on Facebook.

Miranda came across Nadal's profile on Facebook in 2005. He decided to invite her to a Freestyle Love Supreme show, the "popular hip-hop improv troupe, using words audience members threw at them like tennis balls," per The New York Times. She turned up, but according to Nadal, she didn't think Miranda was interested in her, as she told the publication, "It was a huge group so he didn&rsquot talk to me the whole night."

Too shy to ask for it himself, Miranda got one of his friends to ask for Nadal's phone number, so that he could invite her to another show a few weeks later. It was at that performance that Nadal realized that she was falling for him, and told The New York Times, "When he came onstage, I thought, I really like this guy. He&rsquos really, really smart."

They bonded over Grand Theft Auto.

After his show, Miranda and Nadal stood outside and Nadal compared the traffic to the video game Grand Theft Auto, which she loved. As Miranda told The New York Times, "I very coolly said, 'All right, you&rsquore going to come over to my house tonight, and we&rsquore going to play Grand Theft Auto and watch the Jay-Z movie and listen to Marc Anthony. After that, we very quickly gave each other keys to our apartments."

Miranda is Nadal's biggest fan.

The Hamilton star raved about his wife to The New York Times and said, "She knows she&rsquos dope. She&rsquos beautiful but not vain. She&rsquos smart but not arrogant. It&rsquos like, all killer, no filler."

When Miranda won the Best Original Score Tony in 2016 for Hamilton, he performed a sonnet and said, "My wife&rsquos the reason anything gets done. She nudges me towards promise by degrees. She is a perfect symphony of one. Our son is her most beautiful reprise."

[The screams reach a delirious crescendo. FRANCISCO MIRANDA enters. He is 7 pounds and 13 ounces.]

Nadal boos when her husband kisses anyone onstage.

While live-tweeting the release of Hamilton on Disney+, Nadal revealed, "I always boo when Lin kisses someone else on stage, and people sitting around me look at me like I'm a crazy person. #HamiltonFilm."

In a follow-up tweet she revealed, "'you missed the fourth kiss,' reports Sebastian. He's counting. Thanks, kid."

I always boo when Lin kisses someone else on stage, and people sitting around me look at me like I'm a crazy person. #HamiltonFilm

&mdash Vanessa A M Nadal (@VAMNit) July 3, 2020

"you missed the fourth kiss," reports Sebastian. He's counting. Thanks, kid.

&mdash Vanessa A M Nadal (@VAMNit) July 3, 2020

Cuban Independence Movement

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Cuban Independence Movement, nationalist uprising in Cuba against Spanish rule. It began with the unsuccessful Ten Years’ War (Guerra de los Diez Años 1868–78) and culminated in the U.S. intervention that ended the Spanish colonial presence in the Americas (see Spanish-American War).

Dissatisfied with the corrupt and inefficient Spanish administration, lack of political representation, and high taxes, Cubans in the eastern provinces united under the wealthy planter Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, whose declaration of independence in October 1868, the Grito de Yara (“Cry of Yara”), signaled the beginning of the Ten Years’ War, in which 200,000 lives were lost. Céspedes had the support of some landowners, whose main interest was economic and political independence from Spain, whereas the farmers and labourers were more concerned with the immediate abolition of slavery and greater political power for the common man.

In 1876 Spain sent Gen. Arsenio Martínez Campos to crush the revolution. Lacking organization and significant outside support, the rebels agreed to an armistice in February 1878 (Pact of Zanjón), the terms of which promised amnesty and political reform. A second uprising, La Guerra Chiquita (“The Little War”), engineered by Calixto García, began in August 1879 but was quelled by superior Spanish forces in autumn 1880. Spain gave Cuba representation in the Cortes (parliament) and abolished slavery in 1886. Other promised reforms, however, never materialized.

In 1894 Spain canceled a trade pact between Cuba and the United States. The imposition of more taxes and trade restrictions prodded the economically distressed Cubans in 1895 to launch the Cuban War of Independence, a resumption of the earlier struggle. Poet and journalist José Julián Martí, the ideological spokesman of the revolution, drew up plans for an invasion of Cuba while living in exile in New York City. Máximo Gómez y Báez, who had commanded the rebel troops during the Ten Years’ War, was among those who joined Martí’s invasion force. Although Martí was killed (and martyred) in battle about one month after initiation of the invasion on April 11, 1895, Gómez and Antonio Maceo employed sophisticated guerrilla tactics in leading the revolutionary army to take control of the eastern region. In September 1895 they declared the Republic of Cuba and sent Maceo’s forces to invade the western provinces.

By January 1896 rebel forces controlled most of the island, and the Spanish government replaced Martínez Campos with Gen. Valeriano Weyler y Nicolau, who soon became known as El Carnicero (“The Butcher”). In order to deprive the revolutionaries of the rural support on which they depended, Weyler instituted a brutal program of “reconcentration,” forcing hundreds of thousands of Cubans into camps in the towns and cities, where they died of starvation and disease by the tens of thousands.

In 1897 Spain recalled Weyler and offered home rule to Cuba, and the next year it ordered the end of reconcentration. In the meantime, the rebels continued to control most of the countryside. Perhaps more important, they had won the sympathy of the vast majority of the Cuban people to their cause. Moreover, news of Spanish atrocities and tales of rebel bravery were splashed in the yellow journalism headlines of William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal, which beat the drums of war.

When the USS Maine sank in Havana’s harbour in February 1898 after a mysterious explosion, the United States had pretext for going to war, and the Spanish-American War ensued. By the time of the American intervention in Cuba in April 1898, Maceo had been killed, but the war proved to be brief and one-sided. It was over by August 12, when the United States and Spain signed a preliminary peace treaty. By the Treaty of Paris of December 10, 1898, Spain withdrew from Cuba. A U.S. occupation force remained for more than three years, leaving only after the constitution of the new Republic of Cuba had incorporated the provisions of the Platt Amendment (1901), a rider to a U.S. appropriations bill, which specified the conditions for American withdrawal. Among those conditions were (1) the guarantee that Cuba would not transfer any of its land to any foreign power but the United States, (2) limitations on Cuba’s negotiations with other countries, (3) the establishment of a U.S. naval base in Cuba, and (4) the U.S. right to intervene in Cuba to preserve Cuban independence. Thus, the creation of the Republic of Cuba was effected on May 20, 1902.

This article was most recently revised and updated by Jeff Wallenfeldt, Manager, Geography and History.


Hukbalahap Rebellion

Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.

Hukbalahap Rebellion, also called Huk Rebellion, (1946–54), Communist-led peasant uprising in central Luzon, Philippines. The name of the movement is a Tagalog acronym for Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon, which means “People’s Anti-Japanese Army.” The Huks came close to victory in 1950 but were subsequently defeated by a combination of advanced U.S. weaponry supplied to the Philippine government and administrative reforms under the charismatic Philippine president Ramon Magsaysay.

The central Luzon plain is a rich agricultural area where a large peasant population worked as tenant farmers on vast estates. The visible contrast between the wealthy few and the poverty-stricken masses was responsible for periodic peasant revolts during the Spanish period of Philippine history. During the 1930s central Luzon became a focus for Communist and Socialist organizational activities.

World War II brought matters to a head. Unlike many other Southeast Asians, the Filipinos offered strong resistance against the Japanese. After the fall of Bataan to the Japanese (April 1942), organized guerrilla bands carried on the fight for the remainder of the occupation period. The Hukbalahap organization proved highly successful as a guerrilla group and killed many Japanese troops. The Huks regarded wealthy Filipinos who collaborated with the Japanese as fair targets for assassination, and by the end of the war they had seized most of the large estates in central Luzon. They established a regional government, collected taxes, and administered their own laws.

The returning U.S. Army was suspicious of the Huks because of their Communist leadership. Tension between the Huks and the Philippine government immediately arose over the issue of surrender of arms. The Huks had gathered an estimated 500,000 rifles and were reluctant to turn them over to a government they regarded as oligarchic.

Philippine independence from the United States was scheduled for July 4, 1946. An election was held in April for positions in the new government. The Hukbalahap participated, and the Huk leader Luis Taruc won a seat in Congress but—along with some other Huk candidates—was unseated by the victorious Liberal Party. The Huks then retreated to the jungle and began their rebellion. Immediately after independence, Philippine president Manuel Roxas announced his “mailed fist” policy toward the Huks. The morale of government troops was low, however, and their indiscriminate retaliations against villagers only strengthened Huk appeal. During the next four years, the Manila government steadily slipped in prestige while Huk strength increased. By 1950 the guerrillas were approaching Manila, and the Communist leadership decided the time was ripe for a seizure of power.

The Huks suffered a crucial setback when government agents raided their secret headquarters in Manila. The entire Huk political leadership was arrested in a single night. At the same time, Huk strength was dealt another blow when U.S. President Harry Truman, alarmed at the worldwide expansion of Communist power, authorized large shipments of military supplies to the Manila government.

Another factor in the Huk defeat was the rise to power of the popular Ramon Magsaysay. His election as president in 1953 signaled a swing of popular support back to the Manila government. In 1954 Taruc emerged from the jungle to surrender, and the Hukbalahap Rebellion, for all practical purposes, came to an end.

The Huk movement and its leadership persisted, however, operating primarily from a stronghold in Pampanga province on Luzon Island. With the failure of subsequent Philippine administrations to implement the long-promised land reforms, the Huks—although split into factions and, in some areas, merged with new insurgent groups—continued into the 1970s as an active antigovernment organization.


I Survived 18 Years in Solitary Confinement

The harrowing injustice I suffered as a boy should never happen to another child in this country.

Credit. Aundre Larrow for The New York Times

Mr. Manuel is an author, activist and poet. When he was 14 years old, he was sentenced to life in prison with no parole and spent 18 years in solitary confinement. His forthcoming memoir, “My Time Will Come,” details these experiences.

Imagine living alone in a room the size of a freight elevator for almost two decades.

As a 15-year-old, I was condemned to long-term solitary confinement in the Florida prison system, which ultimately lasted for 18 consecutive years. From 1992 to 2010. From age 15 to 33. From the end of the George H.W. Bush administration to the beginnings of the Obama era.

For 18 years I didn’t have a window in my room to distract myself from the intensity of my confinement. I wasn’t permitted to talk to my fellow prisoners or even to myself. I didn’t have healthy, nutritious food I was given just enough to not die.

These circumstances made me think about how I ended up in solitary confinement.

In the summer of 1990, shortly after finishing seventh grade, I was directed by a few older kids to commit a robbery. During the botched attempt, I shot a woman. She suffered serious injuries to her jaw and mouth but survived. It was reckless and foolish on my part, the act of a 13-year-old in crisis, and I’m simply grateful no one died.

For this I was arrested and charged as an adult with armed robbery and attempted murder.

My court-appointed lawyer advised me to plead guilty, telling me that the maximum sentence would be 15 years. So I did. But my sentence wasn’t 15 years — it was life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

I was thrown into solitary confinement the day I arrived at the Reception and Medical Center, a state prison in Lake Butler, Fla., because of my young age. Three weeks in, I was transferred to the general population of a different prison. But a year and a half later, at age 15, I was put back into solitary confinement after being written up for a few minor infractions.

I had no idea that I would be in isolation for the next 18 years.

Florida has different levels of solitary confinement I spent the majority of that time in one of the most restrictive. Nearly two decades caged in a roughly 7-by-10-foot room passed before I was rotated between the general population area and solitary for six more years. I was finally released from prison in 2016 thanks to my new lawyer, Bryan Stevenson, and the Equal Justice Initiative.

Researchers have long concluded that solitary confinement causes post-traumatic stress disorder and impairs prisoners’ ability to adjust to society long after they leave their cell. United Nations standards on the treatment of prisoners prohibits solitary confinement for more than 15 days, declaring it “cruel, inhuman or degrading.”

Yet the practice, even for minors, is still common in the United States, and efforts to end it have been spotty: In 2016, the Obama administration banned juvenile solitary confinement in federal prisons, and a handful of states have advanced similar reforms for both children and adults.

More aggressive change is needed in state prison systems. Today, dozens of states still have little to no legislation prohibiting juvenile solitary confinement.

Because solitary confinement is hidden from public view and the broader prison population, egregious abuses are left unchecked. I watched a corrections officer spray a blind prisoner in the face with chemicals simply because he was standing by the door of his cell as a female nurse walked by. The prisoner later told me that to justify the spraying, the officer claimed the prisoner masturbated in front of the nurse.

I also witnessed the human consequences of the harshness of solitary firsthand: Some people would resort to cutting their stomachs open with a razor and sticking a plastic spork inside their intestines just so they could spend a week in the comfort of a hospital room with a television. Just so they could have a semblance of freedom. Just so they could feel human again.

On occasion, I purposely overdosed on Tylenol so that I could spend a night in the hospital. For even one night, it was worth the pain.

Another time, I was told I’d be switching dorms, and I politely asked to remain where I was because a guard in the new area had been overly aggressive with me. In response, four or five officers handcuffed me, picked me up by my feet and shoulders, and marched with me to my new dorm — using my head to ram the four steel doors on the way there. When we reached my new cell, they dropped me face-first onto the concrete floor. Cheek pressed to the cold concrete, I lay there, staring at the blank wall, shaking in fear and pain. I couldn’t believe I was still alive.

I served 18 consecutive years in isolation because each minor disciplinary infraction — like having a magazine that had another prisoner’s name on the mailing label — added an additional six months to my time in solitary confinement. The punishments were wholly disproportionate to the infractions. Before I knew it, months in solitary bled into years, years into almost two decades.

As a child, I survived these conditions by conjuring up stories of what I’d do when I was finally released. My mind was the only place I found freedom from my reality — the only place I could play basketball with my brother or video games with my friends, and eat my mother’s warm cherry pie on the porch. It was the only place I could simply be a kid.

No child should have to use his imagination this way — to survive.

It is difficult to know the exact number of children in solitary confinement today. The Liman Center at Yale Law School estimated that 61,000 Americans (adults and children) were in solitary confinement in the fall of 2017. A 2010 report from the Department of Justice notes that 24 percent of the country’s children detained at the time were subjected to solitary confinement.

More generally, according to a 2015 Department of Justice report, about 20 percent of the adult prison population has spent some time in solitary, with 4.4 percent of the population in solitary on any given day in 2011-12. And in Florida, where I was incarcerated, approximately 10,000 people — more than 10 percent of its prison population — are in solitary confinement each day.

No matter the count, I witnessed too many people lose their minds while isolated. They’d involuntarily cross a line and simply never return to sanity. Perhaps they didn’t want to. Staying in their mind was the better, safer, more humane option.

After spending nearly two years in solitary confinement as a teenager at Rikers Island in New York City without being convicted of a crime, Kalief Browder died by suicide at 22 years old. Others, like Carina Montes, 29, died by suicide during solitary — even while she was on suicide watch.

Solitary confinement is cruel and unusual punishment, something prohibited by the Eighth Amendment, yet prisons continue to practice it.

Reform efforts for solitary confinement are woefully few and far between. About 15 years ago, I testified for the plaintiffs in Osterback v. Moore, a class-action lawsuit that sought to reform Florida’s solitary confinement system. Although a settlement in the case resulted in modest improvements, including a reduction of inmates held in solitary and an increase in mental health treatment, more meaningful reform is needed.

And it’s possible: State legislatures can pass legislation reforming solitary confinement, as New York recently did. (The bill awaits a signature from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.) And mayors and governors can do their part to end the practice through executive action. Mayor Bill de Blasio, for example, recently moved to end solitary confinement in New York City jails.

When it comes to children, elimination is the only moral option. And if ending solitary confinement for adults isn’t politically viable, public officials should at least limit the length of confinement to 15 days or fewer, in compliance with the U.N. standards.

In the meantime, prisoners in Florida like Darryl Streeter, inmate No. 514988, are forced to spend their lives in long-term isolation. He recently told me by phone that he’s been in solitary confinement for 24 consecutive years. That’s almost a quarter of a century. A generation.

As I try to reintegrate into society, small things often awaken painful memories from solitary. Sometimes relationships feel constraining. It’s difficult to maintain the attention span required for a rigid 9-to-5 job. At first, crossing the street and seeing cars and bikes racing toward me felt terrifying.

I will face PTSD and challenges big and small for the rest of my life because of what I was subjected to. Some things I’ve grown accustomed to. Some things I haven’t. And some things I never will — most of all, that this country can treat human beings, especially children, as cruelly as I was treated.

Sadly, solitary confinement for juveniles is still permissible in many states. But we have the power to change that — to ensure that the harrowing injustice I suffered as a boy never happens to another child in America.

Ian Manuel is an activist and author of the forthcoming memoir “My Time Will Come.” Join him on Twitter (@IanManOfficial) or Instagram (@ianmanuelofficial).


Manuel Azaña

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Manuel Azaña, in full Manuel Azaña y Díaz, (born January 10, 1880, Alcalá de Henares, Spain—died November 4, 1940, Montauban, France), Spanish minister and president of the Second Republic whose attempts to fashion a moderately liberal government were halted by the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War.

Azaña studied law in Madrid and became a civil servant, journalist, and writer, figuring prominently in Ateneo, a Madrid literary club. He translated George Borrow’s The Bible in Spain and was awarded the national prize for literature in 1926 for his biography of the novelist Juan Valera. His novel El jardín de los frailes (1927 “The Garden of the Monks”) was a vehicle for his strongly anticlerical opinions.

In 1930 he began to organize a liberal republican party, Republican Action (Acción Republicana), in opposition to the dictatorship of General Miguel Primo de Rivera. He was one of the signatories of the Pact of San Sebastián (August 1930), an alliance of republicans, socialists, and the Catalan left that called for the abdication of King Alfonso XIII. When Alfonso left Spain after the municipal elections of April 1931, this group became the provisional government. As minister of war in the new government, Azaña drastically reduced the army establishment. During the drafting of Spain’s new constitution, he was the driving force behind the adoption of clauses restricting the rights of the clergy, establishing secular education, allowing the redistribution of land, and fully enfranchising women. When the anticlerical clauses of the new constitution caused the resignation of the prime minister, Niceto Alcalá Zamora, in October 1931, Azaña succeeded him.

Azaña held the office of prime minister until September 1933. His Republican Action was a small party, and he depended on the parliamentary support of the socialists and Catalan left for the continuation of his ministry. As prime minister, Azaña tried to enforce the progressive clauses of the new constitution, and he also pushed through a draconian Law for the Defense of the Republic (1931) and reacted harshly to opposition from the clergy, the army, monarchists, and anarchists. His severe treatment of dissent helped erode his popularity, and the slow pace of social reform alienated his socialist partners, who broke their coalition with him. He was driven from office in the autumn of 1933 by a coalition of centre and right-wing parties. In 1934 he was arrested by the centre-right government on suspicion of having abetted an uprising in Catalonia, but he was acquitted at his trial and won considerable public sympathy.

In 1935 Azaña helped form the Popular Front, a broad left-wing coalition that included liberals, socialists, and communists. In the elections of February 1936 the Azaña-led alliance was successful, and he again formed a government. When the Cortes (parliament) decided to remove President Alcalá Zamora from office, Azaña was elected to succeed him (May 1936). Azaña was meanwhile trying to prevent the left-wing parties from gaining complete control of his government, but he was able to accomplish little before a military revolt led to the outbreak of civil war in July 1936. Azaña reacted to the Nationalist uprising by appointing the moderate Diego Martínez Barrio to be prime minister. This attempt to widen support for the republican government was a failure, however, and control of policy soon passed from Azaña’s hands, though he remained in office as a figurehead. With the victory in 1939 of the Nationalist forces under General Francisco Franco, Azaña went into exile in France, where he died.

This article was most recently revised and updated by Erik Gregersen, Senior Editor.


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Celebrate Pride Emanu-El with Rainbow Challah and Abby Stein

Today is the last day to reserve your rainbow challah, freshly baked by Temple member Eli Cohn Wein. All it takes is an $18 donation to the LGBTQ+ cause of your choice (email [email protected] the receipt), which you can pick up at Temple on Friday night before Pride Shabbat at 6:15 p.m. There. Read more »


Watch the video: Måneskin REACTION - Amandoti with Manuel Agnelli (June 2022).


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