Archive for the Behind Bars in Panama Category

Prisoners And Christmasย 

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama on December 21, 2015 by doingtimeabroad

Christmas, season of love, rebirth and of forgiveness, but what does the season hold and brings for men, women and children locked up away from the rest of humanity?

Christmas like every other religious celebrations tend to have a different hype and type of meaning to prisoners; reflections on several Christmas spent and more to come, joyous/spirited attitude of gratitude for surviving till that moment (anything fatal can happen in Prison at anytime, most #PrisonViolence occurs when guard is let loose), and for many, Christmas is the moment of lamentation, especially the newly arrived jailbird; welcome to The Joint, The Slammer, The jungle, also known as The Belly Of The Beast!

But one thing I know; sooner or later, as they are hauled in and with fresh money, they can always have a very merrily and jolly Christmas in Prison.

Hauled in, sometimes and most times without charges, which might never come or if ever it comes after three years behind bars, one has to adapt and adopt to the life on the inside. #NWO

Life inside prison is one of a personal or individual choice, despite our unwritten rules of engagement, every prisoner decides what and how he will spend his prison time during his incarceration. Sometimes, forces beyond one’s control could impact your would-be decision and therefore influence your decision on how to spent your precious prison time ๐Ÿ˜‰ . Lucky to have a cell, some cells got laws that are more stricter than those of the prison and pavilion – curfew; when the cells are locked, no visitations from #PrisonBuddy ๐Ÿ˜‰ and hygienic laws that every cell members must adhere to. Then you must adhere to such laws, there are also unwritten rules of engagement in some cells; in and they see you as weak, they prey on you. Then you have to adapt and adopt.

Christmas, celebrated by christian and non-christians in disguise ;), In prison, with or without permission from the authorities, prisoners tend to make the best use of their #ChristmasTimeย like they do with their #PrisonTime; well dressed, good food, well rolled joints, incessantly flow of liquids (mostly prison-brew lethal liquor or #moonshine) , enough white lines to snort, and food from outside and those cooked within the pavilions?

No matter how hard it’s been all year round, by december and specifically on 24th, the prison’s kitchen will be emptied and everything sold out to those with cash ๐Ÿ˜‰ makes one’s Christmas a true Merry Christmas – but, only if you have money to shop whatever comes around the passages. The locals get more busy on the run up to Christmas as money is needed to support families outside; thus, lots of ‘wheeling n dealinng’, both on legal and illegals substances ๐Ÿ˜‰

Business amongst prisoners, and between prisoners and wardens or cops thrives most in december as everyone need money to make good of their promises to their kids, missus or mistresses ๐Ÿ˜‰ – sidekicks – sidechicks.

Deal are struck; unwritten, nonverbal, but understood by all parties – live and let live! No knifing, gunshots, fights and bloodletting – we will let you guys be in peace and no disturbance. But then, with an overcrowding population of 630 prisoners in a building built for 216, tension will not end, even the cops don’t need fights or gunshots to keep them on the edge, the overcrowded population is enough to give the ones in the towers sleepless nights – they shouldn’t even be sleeping as they are meant to watch out for #PrisonBreakPanama ๐Ÿ˜‰

For me, another Christmas means, I’m rounding up another year behind bars. Quite a long journey, which seemly look like it had no end, but deep within me, I know there’s an end to this one long journey. An end that might want to look gloomily, but the strength incurred from hard knock experience in the institution is enough for me to walk out and turn things around. And the end is around the corner ๐Ÿ˜‰ . For me, it’s not the end, but the beginning of a new phase in my life; one that has gotten my hands on the plough and not looking back, when I will ever look back, will be to take stock of how well I’m doing after time behind bars.

Christmas, the season of good tidying and peace. Inside in prison and outside in the world, doesn’t look like that; it’s war and fighting over meaningless ideology. It beggars belief how prisoners are also caught up in this ideology thing; different #PrisonGangs with different belief, prisoners who professed to be Christians with contradictory beliefs, fighting over what they friggin believe and forgetting that they all have one thing in common; they are all friggin condemned crooks ๐Ÿ˜‰ – crooks with Bibles and knives!

Lines drawn, every inmate knows his boundary, not to step over those invisible lines of prison gangs war; that’s how many survive what they believe awaits them after stepping on toes before incarceration.

Christmas tend to lighten the hearts of even the most hardened ones amongst us. Even enemies or frenemies tend to look on the other side if they meet on a prison ball; that we do have on regular basis, never any reason to drink and celebrate life or rather our misfortunes. Then, everything is done cautiously, as this is prison were beef, turf wars rages and control for market share can cause one his life.

The richer ones will spend and show off; apparently, prison ought to be where all is reduced to equals, but not here, where money does brings and make some differences. Money can get you the best and state of the art cells and bunks, latest telephones or any electronic gadgets, can even buy you warming belt to lose your love handles without moving a muscles ๐Ÿ˜‰ – friggin lazy men! Money can also buy you foot soldiers, back up security (standby soldiers and weapons of warfare) .

Most importantly, Christmas is when every inmate knows he’s clocked another year in the slammer, and he’s either looking forward to his release date or to more time for those just hauled in before the D-Day and many will be coming in on the days before Christmas. Due to our overcrowded conditions in the pavilion and in the prison, all newbies are been sent to the new prison. For sometime now, I haven’t seen any new face amongst us, still doesn’t make any difference as most faces still look new to me; in a sea of over 600 faces, hard to keep everyone looks. Those that train in the gym and some old inmates are those I know personally.

It’s 12:42:31 PM on zo 20 dec. 2015 – exactly five days before Christmas and four days before when they pavilion is always set ablaze; Latin Americans unlike Europeans celebrate 24th like they are bringing down the heavens. In all my six years behind bars, 24th December is celebrated with ‘pomp and pageantry’; properly dressed and good food, either from outside or cooked inside the prison.

Since the 1st of December, it’s been fiesta after fiesta; booze, joints and white lines all consumed in super large quantities unlike any other time throughout the year.

With time we have perfected on ways of surviving and living life larger than what prison dictates; we can make our beers, more ovens churning out breads, cakes and other pastries, more frying and even the occasional barbecue of assorted meats ๐Ÿ˜‰

Our distilleries are still on, making batches after batches of our potent-lethal liquor; I was the only one who distilled, infusing flavours of fruits and spices to create and give different taste to the bland liquor, but the lads weren’t keen about drinking liquor with flavours, so I stopped and stick to brewing fruits wine or #moonshine. For the first time in many years, I used raisins to brew and it came out as a bomb, hitting the lads right in the spot- within 24 hours I was sold out; they bought everything I had. Nothing left for us in the cell; had to prepare new batches, wouldn’t be ready before 24th, but will be good as gold before 31st night; another night of rumble in the pavilion.

For sure this will be our last Christmas in the pavilion as the authorities are bent on emptying the pavilion for renovation; sending everyone to the dreaded new prison; Mega Prison!

The news of that transfer doesn’t stop the lads from living their lives as they have always done; life itself goes on. From intel coming from the new prison; things might a bit harder, but life continues as inmates and corrupt officials still get about their #PrisonBiz; helping each others meet their desired needs – one good turn deserves another ๐Ÿ˜‰

It’s likely this will be our last Christmas spent in this depleted pavilion. And for many of us, it might be the last in Panama’s prison as many will be going on repatriation to their different countries and other released after many Christmas and birthdays behind bars. Hope, they don’t come back as others have done; couldn’t last a while on the outside before being hauled back in.

Few days before my 6th year and 7th Christmas on the inside; gone fast, but not furiously as I lived and still doing my time with good faith and hoping for the best. Actually one of my best as I generated enough cash from sales of my skillfully brew moonshine ๐Ÿ˜‰ , many are dying to get my recipes, ain’t sharing; the magic lies on knowing what goes into the concoction, something the lads don’t know. And they won’t know as they don’t read ;-). The internet has been of great help with my research for the best and knockout brew of #moonshine – full of recipes ;-), one can literally brew with anything; fruits and vegetables ๐Ÿ˜‰

We will enjoy the last of it as the curtain is drawn on us; sooner or later, pavilion 6 will be history, but before then, the lads are going down or out with a bang. Meanwhile, sending us foreigners away will be a big blow to prison business as the locals depended on our buying power to generate #PrisonIncome for their families who depend on them for survival; crazy world, that prisoners are the ones supporting families outside – they are just sheer lazy people ๐Ÿ˜‰

Year 2015; the prison has seen a bit of notoriety from our pavilion – two serious #PrisonBreak that made news, which got the president talking, few made it to their #LongWalkToFreedom, others were recaptured and hauled back in to continue from where they took a pause, what awaits them, no-one knows, but they are sure enjoying their time.

Yuletide, season of joy and could be a time for rebirth for many prisoners; but many always get too sober that they made a act of ย it, resolutions made and broken right on the 1st of January ;-). Despite the joyous atmosphere, as prisoners and soldiers as many call themselves, we are always on guard of the known and unknown enemies and mostly against unforeseeable circumstances which tends to befall many prisoners.

Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn. – Harriet Beecher Stowe

Donโ€™t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use. – Earl Nightingale



Sex in Prisons: When getting laid matters above one’s freedom.ย 

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama on December 10, 2015 by doingtimeabroad

Sex in prison; you are either getting it the conventional way (consensually with another) or you aren’t, alternatively, you can decide and opt for a one-man-show; help yourself in and with whatever way or manners you can (technically you become asexual); helping yourself by creating friction – ‘mano a bajo’ – to get the best of yourself. And there are those who will go against the norm; forced entry as in #PrisonRape, which is common among the local inmates population #PrisonGangs

Many are having it the auto-mano way as there’s no alternative to relieve themselves of images stored in their subconscious from daily watching of porn videos and xxx images on their phones.

While some lucky ones are either getting laid by their proper missus or hired ladies, others, are beginning to discover the other side of their sexuality are having ‘trysts’ with other prisoners who are willing to indulge.

At the end of the day it’s all about the climax, the one minutes experience; ‘The Cum’, which could be some few seconds or minutes of pleasure and experience ;-). Thus, doing it, make sure all safety measures are in place as there’s been known cases of accidents during bizarre sex acts ๐Ÿ˜‰

11:37:55 AM

Sunday, 15 Nov. 2015

Once slammed in, many will be preoccupied with the thoughts of their lives in their new home (Prison), fate and what destiny has in stock for them in their new enclosed world. But, there are also those whose major preoccupation will be; ‘what will become of my sex life’, how will I be getting it, how will I get laid? And the likes of such questions will be racing through their minds. Little do they know, there isnโ€™t much of a difference between getting laid on the inside as it is outside where they were once #FreeMen.

Thus, in Prisons, in Panama sex is business and readily available when you have the money and guts to go out and hunt.

Sex (most are quickie-blowjobs given in dark corners of the passage, with a sentry on the watchout for incoming intruders or in cells where everything is allowed) like every other business among prisoners is subject to proper negotiation, bargaining and the most important part of it; location. ;), especially when you are in an open prison, where cells are opened 24/7 and everyone is free to roam around; either searching for something to steal, or having the time of their lives.

Though, there are the crazy ones, who just can’t sleep at night; they are either snorting, heads deep into booze or puffing joints or making night control calls and keeping taps on their missus to know who what she is up to.

One will think of prison as a place where you are left to rot away (though, there are many whose lives are gradually, literally ย deteriorating; lack of exercise, malnutrition and depression). But, for many, life continues and they are actually living the best times of their lives. As I’ve come to understand, most locals are better off in Prison than on the streets; free roof over their heads, free water and electricity, no bills to pay for anything, free joints which are shared and most importantly, gang protection or life insurance as I will put it.

Despite our overcrowded population, anyone who want to get laid or get a proper-quickie blow job does find a way to get around it. Sometimes, you can take a nightly walk around the passage and bumped into a proper blow job session in progress; keep on walking!

Years back, when I used to sit out all night when signal was hard to get during the day and there weren’t routers and modems. I did saw several tryst, then it’s was only our shemale providing communal services to the lads. On one night seated hidden behind the stack of chairs used by the two churches (catholic and evangelicals – they don’t share things; great divide). Meanwhile, I had my earphones plugged in, when I took it out, I could hear sound of saliva in mouth as everything goes into the mouth. It was our shemale giving a quickie to a young lad who is now free and it cost him forty bucks for a service that didn’t last 15mins ;). Our vampire is always on the watch for incoming intruders.

Several inmates are also getting served either by our shemale who changes partners or boyfriends as anyone will change clothes; once she isn’t ย getting enough white lines, she is out and about searching for who’s willing to buy some white lines for her. And others that are secretly providing bodily services to the sex-starved inmates here.

I’ve heard how my sexually-confused cellmate (apparently, he does admit he’s gay when he’s drunk), gave a lad blowjob while the lad’s ladee was snoozing, when she (look more femine, but without silicon tits like our shemale) awoke, intel got to her that her sex-starved boyfriend got head from my cellmate, she was pissed; don’t mess with an angry ladee, she snobbed him for weeks and quickly hook up with another lad (how easy to change partners, guess not so easy in the real world).

The Latino male culture being a macho one; has led the lads to believe whoever is on top is always macho, think of the missionary position and doggy style (most favourable position amongst prisoners doing it). So they are made to believe ;-). Personally, I believe being gay is biological. Period! Some will say, years behind bars can turn one into homosexual (#BenCarson)…… naah! I know many of the lads who are now hooked up with someone were patiently waiting for the right moment and the right ass to be hauled in ;), some are having tryst, as they can’t hang on and wait till their release. After cups of our potent liquor and snorts of white lines, the body is definitely ready for the ultimate gratification; El Sexo!

But, none will admit they are gay, rather, we always hear “Soy Macho” the one giving blow job or being shagged is the marica ;). I don’t friggin give a f*ck about anyone’s life, so long safety measures are in place and we get entertained by our shemale, she does entertain us after some lines has disappeared and down several vasos of our lethal and intoxicating liquor #ChichaFuerte ๐Ÿ˜‰

A Dominican lad who wedded his local lawyer with the hope of being released early, has actually been divorced by the lady. Lad had few flings with a Jamaican lass and a Guatemalan, before he decided to go straight and married his lawyer; both collaborated and duped several prisoners; what a team. But then, mostly his compatriots ;). She been a lawyer had taken over many cases, and didn’t do anything on what she promised the lads; so, the lads concluded that the husband (now ex) collaborated with her to swindle them of their #PrisonMoney.

He introduced most of ย his compatriots to her with promises she will help spring them out, and they ended up being swindled off their hard-earned cash. He changed to pavilion eight as it was getting very hot here for him, but the major reason that made him changed was when a young Guatemalan lad he fell in love with was transferred to that pavilion.

He got hook up to him again, and with enough money from his missus (still married, and she didn’t know he was with another lad in prison), he furnished his cell and had the lad moved in with him, the lad officially became his stay-in mistress, wouldn’t let him out for fear of losing him to others who were willing and ready to pay for the lad’s service. Guard what you have or else you will cry; had I known ๐Ÿ˜‰

Fromย #PrisonIntel, we heard that his lawyer-wife couldn’t get him to have a stiffer during the two times she came for conjugal visit; but he sure get his raise when he’s with the lads ๐Ÿ˜‰

And that has become the latest prison joke; he tried fooling everyone but couldn’t fool his D*ck as it knows which hole it prefers ๐Ÿ˜‰

The latest about him, he had the Guatemalan locked up in the cell so as not to have contact with other sex-starved lads in the pavilion; the young lad was literally locked up inside prison. Two punishment for one crime. The lad broke free after his sex maniac captor moved to a different pavilion after he had brawl with some lads over money he swindled them there before his divorce with his scamming lawyer wife. So much are happening in our small world, that will make some soaps look like child’s play ๐Ÿ˜‰

One will be surprised at how much sex sell in prisons, most prisoners are preoccupied with sex all day and they are ready to get it in whatever form it takes and comes – the packaging doesn’t matter ;-), what matters most is the ‘outcum’ – ย #HappyEndingย ๐Ÿ˜‰

Most of us are ok with old fashion ‘frictional handjob’, others wants proper bodily contact, which they are willing to pay heftig amount for; reminds me of ourย #Shemaleย nightly service. Her community service to the lads is an open-secret, which everyone knows, but no-one talks about who her clients are; the walls have ears and prisoners love gossips. It was in prison that I discovered how idleness can lead men to talk, literally about anything, sit hours discuss cartoon characters ;-), with nothing important to while away time, we tend to talk about our open-secret lives.

My cellmate on the other hand, as I’ve come to know has gotten his own clients who make sure he has enough white lines for whatever service he will render. Lately, he’s been pretty busy; how I wished he will also tell them to provide him with proper meals as he doesn’t eat healthy.

With a new addition to our service providers, is a new Mexican feminine-looking lad; he like the freed Jamaican is open about his love for good looking dudes, she sort of sets the pavilion on fire as many are pulling strings to get her. In the meantime, she is very busy working amongst her compatriots and their closed-knitted community; she puffs like a chimney. Once they had drinking spree and ended up orgies where he was giving everyone blowjobs; curtains drawn, music set high and things happened.

Sex business is not restricted to those in our pavilion alone, sometimes on special assignment and promise of good and fat ending, we do get visit from the local ladees in pavilion 2 which happen to be the Trans-camp of the prison; more than 50 transvestites are cramped together in a tiny space. Those who had ventured into their pavilion, came back to tell of how the air there is confusing; mixture of sweet floral fragrance and human bodily putrid odours, anyway, they went there for something which I believe they did enjoyed ๐Ÿ˜‰

Amongst the local prisoners, there has been several incidents of #PrisonGangs rape of fellow prisoners and of Trans or gay prisoners. We have seen several videos which went viral amongst the prison population of multiple gang-raping perpetrated by local gangs. In all the cases as I’ve come to understand, none of those perpetrators were punished; the prison system can’t even punish recaptured escapees to deterred others from #PrisonBreak.

Many of the locals lads are doing long prison sentences for homicides; which is one the major crime in panama amongst the poor and neglected part of the population. Banged up for years without conjugal visit from girlfriends they never had, their only way of getting laid, is through gangs-rape. Which they also stupidly record on their phones and send to their mates, and which eventually becomes viral amongst the prison population.

Meanwhile, I have seen many local inmates in relationships with fellow locals; consensually! And they are the envy of others ;), they want to but can man-enough and come out, instead they resort to rape, which prison authorities always turn a deaf ear to; acts like nothing is happening.

Pavilion 8, the other pavilion housing another batch of foreign prisoners happen to have the best looking ladees; they always have someone upstairs who pays the cops money to send all the foreign transvestites to their pavilion and sometimes the local ones who for gang affiliations can’t live with their fellow locals in pavilion 2. Clearly tells how sex is a big business in prison. Sometimes love and sex can lead to fatal brawls as we have seen among the locals when an incident between bitter lovers left one inmate fighting for his life.

An inmate in my pavilion used to have one of the prison’s beauties from pavilion eight come to his cell for one-on-one service; his affair, was widely known, but remained an open-secret, treated the beauty too good that she decided to make the visit twice a week.

Whenever she walks in, she always create commotion and uproar, which get the lads edgy ;). Lately, she hasn’t been making her weeekly rounds to the lad here, from intel coming in, she has gotten someone who’s madly in #PrisonLove with her and decided to ย put a lock on her; if she comes here, it might take a bloody turn.

A mate and a source in Pavilion 8, told me, her new man is damn too serious with the love thing, wouldn’t let the broad walk outside alone. He’s probably a Muslim, who keep their wives on 24/7 watch ;). Moreover, it seems all the lads that got hooked up in pavilion eight, are really hard lads who will die for love; the Dominican lad has his guatemalteco broad lockup, wouldn’t let the lass outside without him going out with him, now the new one has also gotten someone who’s imprisoned her and wouldn’t let her out. Friggin too serious, and all for #PrisonLove. Getting locked up while in #Lockup; friggin damn double punishment for one crime, and they might even be in as suspects not yet charged as it is with over 70% of #Prisoners incarcerated in #Panama; #PreventiveMeasures – that’s what the government said of the many prisoners locked up without trials or any sort of hearing and they are in for years! Corrupt and lousy system!

Meanwhile, the chicks in pavilion two; specially segregated for the local transvestites ย and beauties of La Joya Prison. Their population and popularity is growing with each new day, news asses are added every week to their numbers. Most of them are in for violent robberies; sometimes with guns or blades, have heard of one who is in for homicide. They can be very fatal, and have earned the deadly nicknamed of #BlackWidow from me ;-), despite what they did before incarceration, inside here, they are like every other prisoner and they can be very jolly fellas ;-), always keeping the lads giggling and jumpy whenever they are outside in their full colours and glories – frutti-frutti.

10:57:55 PM

Saturday, ย 5 Dec. 2015

Sex? How do I personally get around it? After six years behind bars? I’ve learned to switch off my emotions and bottled it; #sextransmutation! I have learned to channel that urge and energy into something else, once the mind isn’t there, the body will take flight. And it all comes down to #Willpower!

Sex transmutation ….. the switching of the mind from thoughts of physical expression, to thoughts of some other nature. – Napoleon Hill

Occasionally, masturbation wouldn’t hurt none and wouldnโ€™t cost me $40 ;), internet is full of sex and the talks of it, so at the touch of button, videos and images are there before my eyes and my feelings. Apparently,I’m the one most inmates come to when they need new and fresh or quality videos or images; they are always asking for websites to get the best and latest porn. Though our internet speed crawls on snail-pace, doesn’t stop them from trying, they are willing to sit out all night until they have it in their phones. And social media has made sharing files very easy; pictures and videos are constantly being sent from their mates and their missus or girlfriends aren’t left out as they want their men to telepathically enjoyed them ๐Ÿ˜‰

For those with fortnightly conjugal visit either with their spouses or rent-girls, they tend to worry less about sex, instead they are busy learning new styles and how to enhance their sex lives ๐Ÿ˜‰

Enhancing one’s sex life has led many to search for the ultimate armoury for that purpose; sex! A lad who did time in US and now doing time in panama came back from the US with a craft that many will desire here and also enriched him; crafting and inserting polished dominoes into the skins of their d*cks! It’s supposed to be #Pearls, but since they can’t lay their hands on pearls in prison, they opt for polished dominoes which readily serve the same purpose ๐Ÿ˜‰

Young and old inmates are flooding to him to get his services and a new additions to their manhood. Almost all the lads in my cell and many in the pavilion are all with stones in their d*cks ;-)! What a treasure to bring the ultimate pleasure. Majority of his clients are those who are yet to complete half of their sentences, thus, they will be walking around with ‘pearly d*ck’ for years before their #LongWalkToFreedom. About four of my cellmates has it done, the oldest among them is the grocer who is about fifty five years old ;). Had advice him to opt for exercise and many the blue pill, but stories from lads who had the stones and now release sort of won him over. Another who did it was diabetic, old dude almost bled to death, was rushed to the unstaffed clinic where his shaft was bandaged. He’s freed now, wondering how he’s enjoying his dominoed-dick ๐Ÿ˜‰

Freedom is the number one priority that occupies our minds, but sex and how to get laid rank second ;-). There’s no time an inmate is not flipping through nude images (downloaded or sent by their women) or watching short porn video clips on their phones. Thank goodness, new and latest phones comes with massively large screens that gives us good and satisfying view ๐Ÿ˜‰

Back in the days, it would have been playboy,hustler, penthouse, nuts, zoo and other men’s entertaining magazines (I actually have couples which I downloaded – shared with few lads who can read). Must prefer just photos and videos; forgetting there are others informative articles in those magazines than just naked women ;-). These days, it’s all about photos and home-made videos from our women outisde and downloaded ones, nobody has time to flip through pages of magazines, when on hand or fingers gestures you can flip through tons of porns and view them discretely in the comfort of your bunk with curtains drawn (those cells with shady or sexual activities has got proper dark curtains covering the bars of their cells and on every bunk). But once it goes down, everyone knows, men with open-secrets ๐Ÿ˜‰

Meanwhile, the new Mexican lass is picking up the norm of relationship in prison, lately, seen her in the companies of different lads; the deal is simple, keep the supply line hot and alive with white lines, booze and joint, you enjoyed her lady’s companionship ;-). And the lad who colonised her when she first got in, and cheated on her with my cellmate now prowls the passage every night hunting for a quickie… hahaha! Broken heart ๐Ÿ˜‰

Finally, prison incarceration rarely deprives a man of his wants, he might be deprived of his one NEED; #Freedom, but not the extras of life, if he’s ready and willing to get it, and has the money or means to pay, he will eventually get what he wants – solo or with another’ – consensually!

โ€œAll restraints upon man’s natural liberty, not necessary for the simple maintenance of justice, are of the nature of slavery, and differ from each other only in degree.โ€ – Lysander Spooner – “Trial by Jury” (19th century)

The Mother Of All Brawls; When Age And Fight Don’t Mix

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama on November 15, 2015 by doingtimeabroad

“A bad jail wastes a body, and quickly. When I entered cell 6 at Gwanda police station, I was fit. But after five days in a concrete and iron-bar tank, with no food and only a few sips of water, my skin was flaking, my clothes were slipping off, my legs were shiny with mosquito bites and I had a constant migraine. The blanket I was given to lie on the concrete floor had given me lice. The water I’d palmed from the rusty tap in the shower block had given me diarrhoea………. And I stank. So many men had passed through cell 6 they had left their smell on the walls, and while I was making my own, the walls had also passed theirs on to me.” – Alex Perry in #FallingOffTheEdge – Globalisation, World Peace And Other Lies.

Apparently, and ironically my first cell in pavilion 6 of La Joya prison in Panama was Cell B6! Fate and destiny and some wrong turns in life brought me there to begin a journey that could be very uncertain for some; but optimism kept me going and going…… Six years on!

21:08:19 Thursday, ย 22 Oct. 2015

The mother of all bombs #MOAB? Heard of that when The US was working on all ends to get to Osama in the mountains of Afghanistan.

Six years behind bars, I’ve seen inmates get slashed, open up like animals been slaughtered in abattoirs, have seen inmates running with hands holding unto their entrails, trying to keep them back in their right places before they spill out; some survived, but most don’t as police and wardens never come to the scene when it’s still hot, they always wait till proper damages had been done. I have heard barrages of gunshots and seen inmates enacting scene in movies; taking cover as bullets flies through the air like swallow. But, all the fight and gangs things are always between young and middle-aged prisoners as they never lived to old age to continue their wars. The lucky ones who made it to their old age are either handicapped and too maimed from knives or gunshots to continue with gang-banging.

The unlucky ones; upon release, who still can’t let go of the old ways ย comes back to prison at old age and pretends to be wise, giving endless and senseless narratives of their lives and how the young should live; but then, the game must have changed as new blood are running #PrisonGangs and it becomes lawless with no codes to guide and keep the gangs in check. It then becomes a free for all fight, where everyone hustle each other for survival!

The old ones are powerless compared to the strength of the youths, but always instigating brawls and hid under the umbrella of old age; knowing very well, no-one will touch them!

The above is a tip of the iceberg of our lives in one of Panama’s notorious prison; La Joya (The Jewel Of The Jungle).

Today we witnessed the ‘Mother Of All Brawls’ #MOAB: A physical brawl between two pensioners, men above their sixties throwing punches at each other ๐Ÿ˜‰

Everything was in slowmotion, despite all the efforts they put to make it faster, they just couldn’t get it together. Got the lads laughing, even the cop on duty couldn’t help but laugh at what he was seeing.

It all started outside and spilled into the gym hall. I for one saw this coming, as I knew from the beginning that this day will come. It all began when our Polish-Canadian was hauled in and added to our ever-increasing numbers. Born into the catholic faith and claimed to have been a catholic priest (hope someone investigate him for abuses, who knows) and now a Sikh, but one with blonde hair, and blue eyes, though all turned white – thus, his nickname; Santa Claus (A Jamaican rasta stamped the name on him and it fits him well)!

Since his day one here, he never stopped talking of his exploits. He actually took everyone for a fool – literally! Which earned him his first enemy; another old lying Canadian who’s almost clocking seven years here and still doesn’t know where he stands (apparently, he can’t stand as his two legs wouldn’t support him).

From day one, he never liked Santa Claus, hated everything about him, both of them pick on each other trying to build camps amongst us, but prisoners are too smart to take up sides with ailing old men who can’t keep quiet; hope it’s not what comes with old age ๐Ÿ˜‰ , both old farts loathes each other, they can’t stand the sight of each other.

Santa Claus, being a Sikh and vegetarian, took to gardening and he’s been doing very well; provides us with all sorts of herbal tea and vegetables. According to him, he’s herbs cures anything and ย everything. I do pick some, but only what I’ve research and know their health’s benefits. Many diabetic inmates go to him for herbs which they boil and drink as the prison isn’t taking care of them. And his clientele is growing, which makes his archenemy more jealous of him; he wants some of his herbs, but santa is not willing and ready to give him even a weed. He’s been a very naughty old fart, thus, no green gifts from santa ๐Ÿ˜‰

No matter what Santa Claus do, doesn’t go well with his fellow country man; who has his own closest full of white and black lies. Prisoners, they friggin love lying ๐Ÿ˜‰ – I have learned not to believe anything here, I always take anything and everything said by a prisoner with a pinch of salt. Like horse and carriage which goes hand in hand, lies and prisoners are interwoven ๐Ÿ˜‰

No day goes by without both men getting verbal with each other; always entertaining, the lads just like anything that will take the boredom away, no matter how bloody it could become and where it’s coming from; even from old men!

The old crooked-crook with his crooked legs was outside, beside Santa’s garden, something he does every day; yoga and stretching of his old limps. But, decided to pick on santa today more than on other days. They both exchanged heated old mens’ words. Since the cop was around, the crooked old fart, got inside with his group; I normally keep weights for him and his lads, I do it out of sheer ‘being good’.

Inside, he was moody and restless, his training mates (his students; as he claimed to have trained with all bodybuilding icons), set up the weights. But he sneaked to where our non-working public telephones are as he saw Santa there.

I was under the barbell on my last set, working my triceps (close grip bench press), when I heard cheering noises on the far corner of the hall. I knew something was going down; since it wasn’t the sound of gunshots or inmates scrambling for shelter, I knew whatever it was, was entertaining ๐Ÿ˜‰

Mano-a-Mano, he called up Santa to vent out his anger that’s ย been boiling inside of him all day. Santa, who was also expecting this to come, took his stance; apparently, he took few boxing lessons from our former world boxing champion when the lad newly arrived until he fell out with him. He does fall out with everyone. ย I guess I’m one of the few who still talk to him; he likes talking, and I’m never tired of listening to whatever anyone says ๐Ÿ˜‰ , even when all that comes out of their mouths are stupidity.

Then, came the mother of all brawls; hands were folded, stances taken, eyes fixed on the opponent; it was beautiful watching two old lads in their sixties acting as teenagers. They moved in circle, watching and aiming to where their punches will make the most impact. The crooked old Canadian threw his first punch, Santa retaliated with two and got him pretty good. When the old crooked lad recovered and threw his second, which floored Santa, he himself couldn’t get his feet to keep him up (that’s when the laugh took a different turn), he literally crumbled on the floor as his crooked legs couldn’t hold him. Both got engaged and entangled on the floor; a bit more like gay porn than prison fight ;-), but gay porn with granddads. Meanwhile, their movements and punches were all in slowmotion mode; the lads wanted something fast and in real-live ;). But age and aching muscles wouldn’t let them move their limbs faster!

While this was going on, the door was closed and noise kept low so the cop outside won’t hear or know what was going on ;-). ย But, he eventually came, watched and just laughed seeing two old farts entangled on the floor, probably acting out their aged fantasies, trust the lads, they let them be.

Finally, we got in and pull them apart, enough of old men acting out their teenage fantasies; probably they never fought when they were teenagers, so they were looking forward to it this day.

For Santa Claus, it’s not his first fight and the old crooked guy has had several encounters but his crooked legs has always saved him from being lynched. Santa has been on the receiving side of serious punches; something we suspected was ordered and paid for by Gringo Loco who finally left after 9 years+ in Panama’s Prisons for violating minors; friggin toothless paedophile. Till date Santa can’t move his jaws probably, good a thing he’s a vegetarian as he wouldn’t think of chewing meats ๐Ÿ˜‰

I had to get Santa away; who couldn’t help chanting; “he attacked me first” ….like a million times. I was scared that one of them might have a cardiac attack! Glad it didn’t happen.

The Crooked old lad went back to his training, but he wasn’t there as his mind wandered back to what had happened; how he underestimated Santa Claus, a Sikh and vegetarian, who does not lift weight like him, but took him on physical brawl. We watched the old fart sit out his entire gym time without lifting any weight, and shame couldn’t let him walk in to his cell. Probably, he’s now realised how stupid he was and has always been by getting into arguments with younger prisoners.

After all said and done and life return to what we know as normal in prison! My young Canadian mate (one of the few close to me) came over to my cell, and I told him what happened as he wasn’t in the gym. He couldn’t help laughing; both old men are always telling him tales of their lives, but like others here, he’s come to know, both old men are jokes! They can’t see anyone stand around them without sharing words of wisdom or rather foolishness ๐Ÿ˜‰

We talked and joke about the fight, and talked of ย  walking into an old people home, and then stumbled ย upon two old men encircling each other with fist folded and ready to throw punches on each other, but then, both forgot what they were about to do and ended up embracing each other, in toothless smiles! Got the joke?

And their fight wasn’t the only brawl today!

Well, I had to get myself through my postworkout routine; meals, shower and washed my gym clothes. While I was busy in the cell, another fight was going on, on the B part of the pavilion; two lads were fighting over a laundry line.

That’s the most outrageous thing that could happen to any sane human; well most people here aren’t sane! Their mates made room for both to fight Mano-a-Mano, no weapon drawn or about to! With enough space, many took out their phones to capture the fight live; reminds me, have to ask if anybody recorded the two grandads fighting today ๐Ÿ˜‰

A training mate who witness both fights today, captured the second and has sent to them to me; but they are of poor quality. Will look around for better quality.

One of the lads was battered, saw him with plaster on one eye like a Pirate; how he got that on his face, friggin don’t know, but he look pretty bad.

With a growing and overcrowding population, serious tension is building up amongst us. And more younger criminals are hauled in; these ones acts and reacts without giving any second thought as to what the consequences of their actions will be.

The first thing I see all the new lads does is fashion metals into knives or anything that would be used to harm or defend themselves when the time comes. What they actually fail to see is the many weapons lying around us; literally, one doesn’t need a knife to have a good fight ๐Ÿ˜‰

Saturday, 31 October 2015

All week, have kept up with my daily routines of exercises, mixing #yoga and other forms of workouts; #Crossfit #HIIT #Complexes. And I’m seeing the results of my dedication and determination.

My consul showed up with two visitors from back home #NL (representatives of #ReclassieringNL) and two volunteers who are willing to make out time to visit us; nice of them. The visit was brief as there was nothing new for me, got some novels to keep me busy.

Weekends always come with the lads doing something interesting with their boredom; most hits the bottles, others stick to their gambling, while the blowers keep up with puffing; some stay 24hrs stoned and high, got me always wondering if they ever want to get low for an hour. Can’t friggin imagine staying high all day; being controlled by controlled substances all day. Might be fun or sheer pathetic.

We didn’t have our general cleaning today as water is bit shaky lately, so I made it to the gym for a saturday workout, more of a top up to round up my week. Went for legs and #HIIT bodyweight routines, finished good and surge of endorphins kicked in – it’s gonna be a #GoodWeekend.

Hell! No! My vegetable-monger cellmate who doesn’t go well with alcohol took to drinking since Friday’s night and continued today. When the old dude who sleeps in the gym hall’s floor came in like always; my cellmate decided to pick on him, something he does always.

The old lad lives alone on his little island with his fellow accused; that prompted my drunk cellmate into asking him if he shags his goats and ass (Buro) since there’s no woman on his little island. The old lad got mad, picked up my training wood, got him to drop it, he took his stance as my cellmate came back at him. Within seconds, the old lad has thrown his folded fist slamming everything on my mate’s face (which later gave him an horn on his forehead) ๐Ÿ˜‰

It took my mate about 30 seconds to recover from whatever hit him. Like our old crooked Canadian who underestimated Santa Claus, my cellmate thought same about the old lad. But the man surprised him and others (yeah! Others loved it, they wanted more fight). I stopped them and closed the door, locking my cellmate inside and the old lad to the gym where I know he wouldn’t find peace as the young lads always pick on him; teasing him and calling him pistolero as he was arrested with a revolver!

The fight didn’t end as my cellmate went after the old due with broomstick, none made any move or attempt to stop him. Got to the old lad who was sitting quietly thinking about what misery he’s gotten himself into; just like everyone here. My cellmate hit him, but the old lad overpowered him and pinned him to the concrete floor, launched some power punches on him ๐Ÿ˜‰ hahaha!

Seems our old lads are trying to send a message to the young bloods, that they still have their mojos, they shouldn’t mistake old age for their will to survive in the midst of young hot bloods who are eager to fight. My cellmate returned to the cell and armed himself with an icebreaker he made from a sharp metal; the news got to the old lad and soemone told me also. I knew he won’t use that on me. But being warned is as good as being safe!

The old lad had him reported to the cop on duty who must have seen or heard about the brawl; but didn’t react as there was no blood spilled and moreover it was an old fart beating up a younger lad who has given his strength to liquor and thinking about his wife whom he believed is being shagged by another. No day goes by without him being at odds with his missus; she is thousands of miles away in Colombia, while he’s slammed up abroad in Panama and worries himself to death on what she is doing and with whom she is doing it with! What a twat!

On Sunday, a meeting was held and my cellmate was summoned to the meeting; it was all about kicking him out of the pavilion as many knew he armed himself to hurt the old man. He broke one of our vital unwritten rule; never pick up a weapon against another inmate, always go Mano-a-Mano if you want to fight!

He came to me to plead with the pavilion’s executive and talk to the cop to let him stay; denying he wasn’t armed. Hope he’s pardoned. Despite everything, he’s still drinking, all sunday!

He joined a new group up the passage and been on it, but always crying in bed when alcohol kicks into his system.

Monday, 2nd Nov. 2015

Hit the gym after cooking our lunch for another bouts of #LegsDay; had a wonderful workout, mixing abs and rope jump. Went heavy on squat, hitting 275lbs with 7 reps, could have gone on more weights but had other routines; did deadlifts, RMD, lunges and finished outside with slow jogging and few sprints. Enough for a Monday!

Inside, found out that my cellmate still drnking, but with another group, hope they keep an eye on him as he explodes after a few cups of our potent liquor.

Did my laundry, showered, tried napping, but can’t – noisy! It’s always noisy here!

November is here, and the month when the lads take to drinking till the end of the year. It’s also the hottest period in the pavilion as we anticipate and expect searches by cops as they come looking for #moonshine and whatever they can nicked from prisoners. They actually nick from us; money, food, and any tiny stuffs that can be stuffed into their police kits and pockets.

From now till the end of the year, we are always on full alert waiting for them; the cops!

Our much-awaited consular visit happened last month, she finally came, along with end-of-year visitors from home; Nederland and two volunteers who will be making out time to visit us here ;).

The visit was like others, #NoNews; sometimes the consular visit always raise our levels of anxieties, but I’ve learned to expect nothing, not even what I requested to be bought for me, but on this visit, she did surprised me by buying thing I suggested that I need; cleaning materials – bleach, clothes conditioner, brush and other things. It was one of those #PrisonersMoment; something you wished for, but knowing that it’s a wish, but then you get it.

Those things saved me tons of #PrisonCash as I would have paid 3x the prices she bought them here.

My compatriots got what they ordered, like always, they resell them at #PrisonPrice to make more. But, one in particular sold his toilet papers and came down to the grocer in my cell to buy the same toilet paper at a higher price. He probably sold it for 75ct and ended up buying one for $1.50ct – Penny wise, pounds foolish!

The visit was really needed as I was stint on #PrisonEssentials; toiletries and BP medications, I’ve given up hope of going to the clinic. Self-medication might not be advisable, but when you are in prison, you definitely want to survive and you want to do by any means, which always lead to Self-medication. I don’t just pop in anything, I do my research with govt sites and other reputable medical organisations before; NHS, CDC, Mayo Clinic, Web MD, and ApotheekNL! ๐Ÿ˜‰

November! For many of the lads it’s been fiesta to fiesta – non-stop rumba in the jungle!

Sun, 8. Nov. 2015

December and Christmas are around the corner, the lads are in festive mode and mood. Moreover, Panama is celebrating independence from Colombia. The lads aren’t left out in the celebration, it’s been distilling and straight from the bootleg factories to cups of ravers. Anyone new to the pavilion will think of the place as a strip with watering holes lining all sides.

Some started early on Thursday, the hardcore ones picked up on Friday and continued till today; once they hit the bottle is hard to get them to stop. Some will do with the noise and booze, while others end up in brawl.

Talking of brawl, majority of the lads, once drunk, can’t keep their mouth shut. And once mouths are opened and certain words uttered, it always end in physical brawls. Most men can’t keep their thoughts to themselves, they sometimes think very loud ;-), and whatever you are thinking loud might not go well with your drinking mates, which eventually leads to counter loud-thinking and sometimes to a different level.

I have seen drinking parties turned messy after a lad allowed his tongue to slipped; spilling out ann open-secret about his drinking mate’s missus being shagged by another who was released. It wasnโ€™t something to tell a drunken prisoner. And it didn’t end well with the lad who couldn’t keep his thought from being too loud to everyone’s hearing ๐Ÿ˜‰

From Friday, there has been pockets of brawls involving those drinking and non-drinkers. One lad in particular is always unlucky with alcohol, each time he drinks, he ends up ย with one black eye. There’s never been a time he drinks without getting punch or had his head shaved or eye brows cleaned off ;-), sometimes his mates add lipstick and complete make-up to make him look a bit beautiful. Thanks to our shemale who is always ready to lend a helping hand when the lads need her makeup case. I think most lads picked him for lousy arguments, and end up punching him; he’s also a violent guy, as they know when he’s drunk, he’s spills rubbish.

I won’t heap the blame on others for his own doing. If you can’t control yourself after some cups of chicha, then abstain from indulgence; that’s my manera! Period!

Others brawls over the weekend has been with smokers over nicked weed or missing white lines. My sexually-confused cellmate was involved in one, but was exonerated as they found out, he didn’t snort the white lines. But he was wasted over the weekend from drinking and he does a lot of talking and shaming; he did say, that he’s man enough to have come out, but others aren’t man enough to come out of their closets. I know many who are still floating around their sexuality ;-).

The weekend really ended with a bang!

As for sleep, I doubt if many did get good sleep. The noise began on Friday and went on through Sunday, I try to do interval naps when I can. My cell also was a host to a party which almost drove everyone berserk, nobody slept everyone was feeling sick after the party; only two from the cell were in the party. It almost got my pharmacist-cellmate his first proper fight; after he approached the young lad who was wested from days of drinking to take his noise elsewhere. I went in to calm the situation and saved the day.

Despite my poor sleep over the weekend, I still made it out on Monday for my daily workout. The best part of my prison life is having ย something I’m always looking forward to. I go to sleep each night looking forward to a new day and doing what I have to do to get me going and occupied. It’s something to do with postive attitude and mentally towards life irrespective of the conditions one finds himself.

Prisoners and Lies; can’t separate one from the other. Intel and rumours about our seized dvd’s and other things during the last search had it that ‘it’s likely the pavilion’s president and his band of followers must have wheeled and dealt with all the stuffs as cops were meant to return them, but till date no signs of them.

Such are what goes on amongst crooked crooks and it’s always the reasons they die like roaches; no honour amongst crooks. They played, double-crossed each others in businesses, and the only way to get back even is to hurt the most crooked.

I now know why scores are settled by the ultimate price; death! To most latino gangs, it does not matter how little the amount stolen or swindled by a mate, what matter is the honour and trust lost. I have seen local prison gangs killed another for a stick of cigarette – must have been an expensive smoke ๐Ÿ˜‰

Thus, cops has seized our electronics, but planned to return them. But, the team in charge of getting them back has gone over and sold them amongst the locals or even to the foreigners in pavilion eight. Such is life in prison; trust no-one, nobody; sometimes the lads don’t trust themselves. Tell an inmate to keep watch over your stuffs while you’re busy, he tells you he can’t, because he doesn’t even trust himself. ย I’ve learned to live not trusting anyone here; I take them superficially for what they are, crooked crooks ๐Ÿ˜‰


Thursday 12 Nov. 2015

#Weekend is around the corner! I’m up for another day and ready to take the day, prepared for whatever I can control and accept what is beyond me control; such is our lives in Prison. There are quiet a lot beyond the prisoner’s control, those thing they call unforeseen circumstances! But, if one pays attention to every details within and about, nothing will be unforseen as something always lead to another and sometimes bloody and fatal.

Ready for today’s routine in our improvised gym, I’m always looking forward to it alone as my training partners aren’t dependable, I really can’t build our exercise routines around them. Even, if I told them what we will do the next day, they will be sitting around waiting for me to come out and bring out the materials for the day’s workout.

Some days, I choose to do all-bodyweight routine just to keep a little distance from them, and whenever I do that, I always throw them off course ;-). They become confused, not knowing what to do.

Rushed through breakfast of coffee, bread and two fried eggs before hitting the gym. The gym was busy despite the door being left open for those willing to take a walk outside. The cop on duty knows it’s grilling hot inside, so he allows us ample of time outside in turns. Most inmates once outside wouldn’t want to get back inside; well nobody wants to be locked up in this oven-like building where we are been baked by heat emitted from our own bodies.

After my workout today, and my postworkout rituals; postworkout meal, shower, wash gym clothes and pop online for anything new. Decided to take a power nap as I had woken up early today. While I nap, a @Reuters photojournalist was in the pavilion and was given permission to come, something panama refused other journalists. I heard he did interviews with few inmates, but had to leave as he was running out of time. And, promised to come back on Friday. Hope to speak with him.

Another round of distilling in the cell as the lads working against time to get some booze ready for weekend as many will be hitting the benders to celebrate time in prison ๐Ÿ˜‰

Lately, I’ve been feasting on lentils and whatever bushes I could pick from Santa Claus’ organic garden. I’m doing less meats; actually those without money are doing no meats as the prison food rarely come with meat. Anything meaty are sold off and we get bare watery soup with half-cooked rice. Majority of the lads has got no idea what a healthy food should be; fried chicharrรณn with rice cooked in half litre of rice or fried arepa (maize massa deep fried) are all healthy choices the lads will murder for. And many aren’t keen about exercising – Naaaaaah! Not their thing ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m one of the few still hanging on routers and modem for internet connection. Many are opting for Samsung and LG phones that pick up signals at different parts of the pavilion. These phones are easy to stash and not bulky like routers. Seem I will join them, that will be when I have the money as what I need is the HTC ONE M8; pick up signal very well and also good for my online activities ๐Ÿ˜‰

Stayed up a bit for signal which sometimes can be pretty hard to come by.

Finally gave up and retired to my quiet cell as the lads were all snoozing; that’s the only time the cell is quiet… Oh! Mi Dios ๐Ÿ˜‰

Did some reading and tweeting before nature took hold of me….Zzzzzzzzzz ๐Ÿ˜‰

Friday, 13 Nov. 2015

6:58:20 PM

Another #DarkDay in the history of #France after terrorists attacked #Paris!

We are actually watching it live on television as Panama media hooks up with other international media. I’m also live-tweeting as everything about the attacks unfolds!

What’s happening in Paris tonight will definitely raise the bar on the war on terror; this will be the game-changer, the moment of decisions for all the heads of European nations.

I believe the attackers must have slipped into Europe disguised as refugees . How will Europe know who is who? I hope France and Europe will come out stronger and more united against the extremism of all kinds.

For the first time, my cellmates were attentive to the news on television; everyone sat down with faces centered on their television sets. Many aren’t worried as Europe and the Middle East are far away from Latin America.

“In a connected world, it is no longer enough to hit your immediate enemy. You also have to strike at what you perceive as its underlying origins, even if that’s half a world away.” – Alex Perry

Six years behind bars and witness to many life’s devastating events around the world and all of them has taken lives of innocent people. When will all these carnage and chaos end? Like Plato rightly put it, “Only the dead has seen the end of war.”!

“Better to die with dignity than live with humiliation.” – Hussein (Mohammed’s grandson as he lay dying in Karbala, the birth place of the #Shia faith and faction of #Islam – with a sword in one hand and a #Koran in the other) – Seems that’s the underlying and founding stone for all terrorism and those perverting islam!

Would we say, only those who had paid with their lives for the ‘unholy’ religious was has seen the end of this mindless war? Likely!

#ParisUnderAttack #FreedomUnderAttack #EuropeUnderAttack #BordersClosed #EUClosedBorders

Back to my day; had woken up early to use the loo, tried getting online as it would have been the best time to surf, but my friend’s router was down. Had to get back to sleep. Didn’t sleep for long as the lads were up with a bang; once the first wakes and another joins him, two are enough for lousy morning conversation over flimsy things. Sometimes, talks could be about soup, fish, or just about anything that will make any sane human wonder what prisoners actually do with so much time ๐Ÿ˜‰

Finally, got up and set about today’s routine, could be repetitive, but I always try to make it different from the previous day’s and interesting. In the gym, I always add something to my main workout routine to keep the body guessing and to avoid plateaus. While with my reading, I browse through saved articles or pick up an old magazine for a timeout from whatever book I’m reading at hand. And I try to avoid unnecessary talks or discussion that won’t benefit me. I always refer to use their phones and do some basic research or search Google; which has become their instant judge to settle all arguments ๐Ÿ˜‰

Saturday, 14 Nov. 2015

Woke up early to set up my downloads and run through news and development on #ParisAttack, the toll of the attack were climbing; praying it stops!

Back to sleep for a two-hour sleep before 8am when our cleaning starts; today, my old grocer-mate is washing and cleaning the cell, something he hates doing, then don’t return to prison. Apparently, this is his second time in the Joint.

Woke up exactly 07:45 and went about picking up stuffs to make room for him, he had to wait as everyone woke up at the same time. One brushes his teeth, another in the loo and I set water for #greentea on the stove ๐Ÿ˜‰

With my tea and #Yoga mat, headed out to the gym, the cop wasn’t here yet, so the door remained locked and many stood waiting for the cop who later came late! And breakfast also came very late, by that time, I was already into sets/reps on back squats and front squats ;), made todayโ€™s workout very enjoyable as I trained alone: hitting the legs hard and then into an all-body #HIIT #Hardcore workout ๐Ÿ˜‰

Most who went outside after the cop opened the door were sent inside after the police commissioner was heard to be coming this way. Rounded up my workout with hanging leg raise for the abs ๐Ÿ˜‰

Back inside, my old grocer bought fatty pork chops with massive skin on each, my boxer mate refused cooking, had to cook it for them (grilled) while I made eggs and ate with leftover lentils from last night dinner.

This week has seen new faces hauled into our already choked and overcrowded population; we are overflowing and still counting in a building built for 216 #Prisonners, we are clocking almost 650 prisoners now and more are coming. They can’t and won’t stop coming and Panama won’t stop churning them into their overcrowded prison factories, which in return churns out graduated and seasoned baddies to the streets of Panama; #ViciousCircle

Amongst the sixteen newbies hauled in this week, five happened to be old faces returning to pick up where they left ;-), one is a fourth-timer. There’s a joke making rounds about the lad; it’s better he buys a bunk and keep it for himself, whenever he goes out and return, he won’t be worried about starting afresh or from the bottom. Our new President who returned for the second time, returned to his former cell and bed, where he was haertly welcomed. He now have a personal chef who grills and fry anything edible for him, both are severly obese and being obese in a place like this where mobility is restricted is the worse thing to happen to anyone. ย Well, most think eating whatever their money can buy is living large, sometimes money are being spend on unhealthy foods and that’s what many here are doing.

Another development this evening, our PA system went up for a meeting to reshuffle the pavilion’s leadership and vote in a new president and new members of the executive board that will work with the new president. The present one and his team are said to be chronically corrupt, so much dark-prison businesses going on which we only hear through whispers. The locals has turned our pavilion into their recreation centre, heard a local came partying here and slept over; something no foreigner will ever try. The more easy for the locals to move in and amongst us, the easier it is for them to carry out any job on any one of us. In the past, the most they can come is outside the wire fence, but now, they walk in freely, and some even steal from us with the help of their friends amongst us.

There are rumours making rounds that our seized dvd players and other items had probably been flogged in the market by the president and his team. The cops were willing to return the items after picking out what they liked and wanted. But what was left to be returned took a different turn and till date, no news of it. Such is life in prison, none is straight, everyone looks out for himself and his own.

Tonight’s meeting was a briefing, it’s likely an election will be held tomorrow for a new leadership to run the prison affairs. It’s ironic how one could run, lead and control men that society couldn’t control and tamed ;). I believe it takes a criminal to understand another criminal, thus, it only takes prisoners to be able to run other prisoners; that probably the reason cops and wardens has no presence amongst the population. Everything inside the pavilion are left in the hands of inmates to take care, and it could be a very dicey situation as we have seen in different pavilions. Brawls leading to deadly fatalities has been witnessed in several pavilions over leadership and control of businesses which are mostly drugs deals in the pavilions.

Hope we will be able to choose someone who wouldnโ€™t be preoccupied with his own personal affair, but one that will work, having the pavilion’s interest in mind.

11:58:10 PM one of my cellmate is distilling, the cell is like an oven prepared for baking, not even our old fans helping with the heat. I’m outside the cell waiting for him to finish before I take another shower and tuck into my bunk for the night.

The more turbulence, the more intense the struggle, the greater evidence of can-do hustle and ambition. #survivingprison #Darwin

Your ability to make yourself do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not is the key to success.

#SurvivingPrisonย #StayingFitInPrison

When Things Fall Apart – Chaos Is Born

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama on September 21, 2015 by doingtimeabroad

Would we say that Prisoners are no better than wild beasts – hard to tamed and easily enticed by what they love most; Crime. ……. but then, not all are guilty of crimes charged; miscarriage of justice!

Meanwhile in the wildest of jungle deep in excruciating heat of the tropical sun of Panama. Prisoners, young and old, presumably innocents and pronounced guilty are slammed together in overcrowded buildings (pavilions) built and modelled after the Nazi’s concentration camps, scattered around a massive terrain of jungle grounds. This is the human jungle where lives are reborn or perished. Prisons of humanity!

So far, it’s been relatively quiet as nothing spectacular or out of the ordinary has happened amongst me and my fellow time-travellers. ย There’s been the occasional outburst of angers with words, sometimes ended in physical brawls. Couple of them unsheathed their knives, but never get to use them as the spectators intervened; we all know what will happen if anyone is stabbed, cops will come ransacking searching for the weapon used.

Thus, to safe us from scrambling to our stashes, we try not to spill blood like the locals do; they just love it, no day pass by without bloodletting amongst the local inmates in their various pavilion. Most fights amongst prisoners are always results of bad debts, bad words, prison and street gangs wars, and lately over #PrisonLove; the locals don’t mess with their love lives. Their girls are always watched and beaten when misbehaved, they really do take care of their own ๐Ÿ˜‰ – taming the bitch!

Some of the latest fights in our pavilion has been over unpaid winnings from lottery most of the lads hawk around. One the lottery vendor was beaten into unconsciousness by a trainee-boxer; kicked him on his head after he floored him. Lad went ‘blackout’ ๐Ÿ˜‰ had to be helped on his feet by his thieving mate, who nicked my friend’s modem.

Another brutal fight was with our vampire, who survived bouts of tuberculosis, gaining weight now after a month or two in the infirmary, really hope he’s fully cured of it. Would be disastrous if we have. Tuberculosis outbreak here in a pavilion build for 216 prisoners but has over 600 now!

He was hit on his forehead by his snorting partner of a missing pouch of coke ;), lad went about with an enormous swell, made him look more like a rhino with the hump on the centre of his forehead ๐Ÿ˜‰

He laid out his plans (which is what every prisoner learn when hauled in – patience), waited patiently until a visit day, as the young lad came back smiling with his newly stock of provisions brought in by his mum; mothers, they’ll do anything and everything even the blackest of her sheep.

Our vampire came from nowhere; was actually waiting but merge into the crowded population (every damn place in the pavilion is crowded, even our toilets), and my bunk is damn crowded with books ๐Ÿ˜‰ – he threw just one power-punch which caught the lad on his mouth, sending out two teeth ;-), the young lad who was had barely any was left with toothless mouth, will be hard to get a willingly girlfriend with that, well, gangsters always get what girl they want. The fight didn’t last 3 seconds as our vampire did what vampires do; spill blood! The young lad was thrown into confusion as he was expecting it. Well, that ended their brawl and a line was drawn between both of them, they became sworn enemies – but have to live side by side in the same open-plan pavilion – always on the lookout!

The same young; apparently, he’s got affinity to trouble, got involved with some gambling lads while I was in the gym, don’t mess with a gambler as you don’t know how much of his life he’s losing on the green table ;-). One went after him, and the young lad pulled out his knife – he’s been walking with it since the fight with our vampire! ‘Be Prepared’ and ‘Be armed’.

That was the last straw, he was thrown outside, I actually got in and saved him from being lynched by the mob of inmates, escorted him to the cop outside, who arranged for him taken upstairs where he was locked up with some locals under punishment in a tiny cell under the administration building. They do all their things in empty cans of milk or chocolate and in the morning wash themselves – this is hell, but up there is Dante’s worst part of hell; #Inferno! I’m very much ok with the Hell I can manipulate and adapt to ๐Ÿ˜‰

Another joined him, he nicked a cellmate’s phone, lad was actually sent back upon release as he has an extradition request ย from his country Colombia pending, but will take ages for Colombia to come for him. I wonder what those who threw him out told the cops; nobody will tell them, he nicked a phone ;-), anyway they got him out – one thief less!

Another who pulled a machete after a boxer floored him on top of the cells, was also thrown out; he was sent to pavilion five, hope the 24 hours church service will change him. Yet to see the locals there change, maybe it will work for him as a foreigner ๐Ÿ˜‰

While we struggle with our daily bursts of angers over little issues, the locals take theirs to the extreme; falling back on their weapons for proper support. Through prison intel networks, we get daily updates of what’s happening around the two prisons in the expansive complex; La Joyita and La Joya.

Meanwhile, a few has had their #LongWalkToFreedom in the past months, but they are rapidly filled up with newbies who are hauled in twice a week; Tuesdays and Fridays! We have our queen to always welcome them with blow-kisses and warmth embrace – our reigning #Shemale!

Life goes on as always, nothing of importance or out of the ordinary has happened so far.

But this week has gotten us shaken to our core, more or less woken us to the true reality of where we are; #Prison and a very notorious one!

On Thursday, the 17th of September, we heard barrages of gunshots, from the sounds, we knew it’s from the other prison; La Joyita, thus we weren’t shaken or worried! Someone will always want to another over some flimsy grievances. #PrisonViolence

Later that day, intel started coming in along with a video of the Wild Wild West action – live in prison, of inmates running around with guns, shooting and being shot at; some of the lads just love it, proper action flick! Later in the evening, we heard on the news of the fallen and wounded that were taken to hospital. But, what people outside wouldn’t know, it took police 30 mins to get to the shooting scene, they waited until the gangs had done their cleansing, then they went in, and as always, no gun was found! Hahaha ๐Ÿ˜‰ what a joke! They are all clowns!

Since it’s always been calm here, we enjoyed the privilege of going outside for fresh air if we have a good cop on the door, little did we Know that will be ending soon along with so many benefits and will throw our lives into one one waiting, anticipation and watching.

Thursday night; few lads were drinking and doing what they do when weekend is approaching. Meanwhile some young new lads were busy planning their #PrisonBreak #EscapeToTheWild; few amongst them had been taking serious boxing lessons from a former world champion who’s here with us. One did trained with me couple of times in the gym, another bought my old trainers; for this purpose, something to give him a good flight.

Thursday night came with a thick fog, that one can barely see his nose if he was walking around the fields outside. And the generator operated floodlights were out of service; perfect combo for #PrisonBreak8 – when the lads, a group of eight young lads were busy working on the lock, many in the gym hall saw them, but as part of #Prisoners’ Omerta; no-one uttered a word! And I was still up and online, sitted in the front of my cell. Though we are locked and separated from them after 10pm every day. When I finally called a night around 4am, a lad came by telling us, it’s hot as there’s been some escape; that cops were outside the perimeters. Had thought it was probably amongst the locals, but on walking out and asking others, then it downed on me, that today’s episode of #PrisonBreak was actually shot and acted out right under my nose; quite a lot can happen without one’s knowledge, well, I only know what I want to know.

My old Canadian friend who has spent more than 6 years left on Wednesday’s afternoon, escaping whatever will come from this escape!

Within minutes of knowing that the break was in our pavilion, we were done with stashing and hiding what ought to be taken care of. Then we sat waiting for cops! Had to forced myself to catch a few minutes of nap before they came; they actually acted calmly.

We were called out for headcount, as they wanted to know the numbers of escapees; took out my push-ups woods and a gallon of water as none knew how long we would be left outside under the blazing sun.

Counted, I went about my daily exercises, tried to get my mind off the consequences of today’s prison break. Had a fierce and badass workout and #yoga stretches. Also did some short distance sprint as we weren’t allowed to venture behind the pavilion, not even allowed to use the monkey bars behind the building. They didn’t stop me and a mate as we went about our workout.

Another round of headcount, but this time by last names, had to wait till I was called in. Finally in, showered, ate and decided to sleep over the problem. Sleep does cure a lot, even prisoners’ worries ๐Ÿ˜‰

Everything was stopped from coming into the Pavilion, not even the workers who had visit were allowed out, we finally got our lunch and dinner around 5am; glad the grocers in the pavilion had stocks to meet our hungry needs ;-).

It started to downed on us who and who made the prison break; 6 Colombians, mostly related and drug mules who were arrested in the jungle and two Panamanians that shouldn’t have been brought in here; and both were on high profile murder case. One killed a family of three and the other also killed someone, both were native Indians – bloody aggressive fellas; seen the first few times always staring blankly into the unknown. They were supposed to be sent to their fellow locals, but fear that they will be lynched made the cops sent them to us; we friggin take all their scumbags!

Glad he escaped! Now shit has hit fan as the news of him escaping has hit the airwaves, families of his victims won’t take it lightly with the government for now sending him to an isolation maximum security facility.

The lads cut through the lock, the wire fences and escape into the wild; prisoners always love the wild as they are wild themselves.

When our phones were finally switched on and signal started coming in, intel were coming that they are safe in the jungle waiting for nightfall before continuing with their journey towards the border with Colombia.

Unknowingly to us, the main financer and venture capital behind the #PrisonBreak8 went over to get laid by his girlfriend who has been here to see him during several visits; forgetting that panama is a police state, like the old East German State, cops keep data’s of everyone. By Friday afternoon, he was recaptured in his girlfriend’s bunk, where he was cooling down. And the rest of his group were lost in the jungle.

The lad was all over the news, even the president was forced to say something about the violence and incapacity of his police force on running his prison system; corruption has eaten through the core of the system. Will be hard to clean it thoroughly!

As of today Sunday, 20 sep. 2015 – they media has finally gotten clips of the native Indian #Cholo who murdered the family of three in Darien on air, he’s probably the most wanted man right now in Panama. From what I learnt from few native Indians here, he won’t be allowed back into the Indian country or reservation as he’s committed a serious crime. My best guess, he will be heading towards Colombia and probably will join the rebels. That’s what most lads are saying here!

The minister in charge of security in the country is also confused as he spoken of corruption in the police force and how the prison system is engulfed in corruption. Like always, they are planning hitting us big; but a one-time hit and then leave without getting prisoners into the proper part of rehabilitation won’t bring about any changes in the system from what it used to be. The old way has always been the way the lads know and when there is nothing new to replace what they want to change, everyone will fall back to the old way; corruption and crime!

This is an article on the state of affairs in panama and her prison system and the inability of the forces to handle and control things.

Henrรญquez pierde el control del sistema penitenciario | By Erika Edith Quiรฑones ( | @ErikaZayuky

Via ย @PanamaAmerica –

22:05:08 Sunday ย 20 sep. 2015:

Intel coming in, there are five busloads of cops in the premises; definitely means we are being stormed as early as the first sighting of daylight tomorrow morning. Gotta rush and publish this and get my stuff stashed. What has kept me through, pray I scale through this one also, as they are coming to thrash us.

It’s war and they say; “Only the deaths has seen the end of war” – I want to live through this and tell the tale of this war; the art of prison warfare!

The lads are planning to go on mutiny if they come for our fans and electricals.

This will only be the beginning of several beginnings!

No law should be more harmful than the behaviour it is trying to regulate (some laws are so draconian in nature that it outweighs the crime or behaviour it is trying to punish; such law comes from politician who believes it will work, but at the end; creating monsters out of petty criminals).

“Wat is tijd? Meestal merken we iets van de tijd, als er iets verandert of veranderd is. Daarom is tijd vaak zo moeilijk bij te houden als je vastzit en elke dag hetzelfde is als gisteren en vermoedelijk hetzelfde als morgen. “Doing Time” heet vast zitten op zijn Amerikaans. “Tijd (Ver-) doen” Weining verandering meemaken” – Redactioneel van Gezant uit Nederland.

Prisoners And Religion: A Fatal Combo

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama on September 21, 2015 by doingtimeabroad

“The purpose of religion is to control yourself, not to criticise other.” – Dalai Lama

The variability of perceptual experience from one occasion to the next, and from person to person, raised the worry that the eyes are an unfaithful witness to the world around us. This is because such variability suggests that perceptual experience is as much determined by our own minds as it is by the things we view. #Religion #ReligiousDiversity

It been a long while I publish one of my prison blog. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t news or vibes around and amongst these men sequestered away from civilisation and left to fate and elements to transform or destroy them – The Prison Experience.

The prison system is like a kaleidoscope but changes constantly with the players therein, whom, ย despite living like hamsters running around its friggin wheel, prisoners are constantly ย changing to adapt and adopt to the intense prison life. ย I’ve coined out a saying from my experience here and it’s been what has kept me going “Do the time and don’t let the time do you” – if prison times does one, he’s bound to walk out (if he survives) more fucked up than when he was hauled in; something I’ve seen happened to many prisoners.

Expressions on our faces might look similar; sometimes, one barely understand himself and his own feelings. But, deep down inside our hearts, full of bitterness which are coated and coded in our expressions, each man try to man up and pull a brave face, but deep inside many feels the impact of failure or failures for those that won’t stop coming back – they just friggin love it here – aren’t they? #Pheeeeew! Not easy to break off from the chains of the vicious circle.

Like a kaleidoscope so are our faces; keep changing and can be very deceptive! One can’t tell the heart of a prisoner, not until he spills out its contents, which can be heartening.

The prison system is a world on wheels, moving at a snail’s speed, but moves with life, one that can also tak one’s life along into oblivion. Faces – to a prisoner means so much, it tells tales that are unwritten and some unspoken, silence tales of servitude and hard-knock life. The old faces gradually fades away from our population as new ones are hauled in to take their places. But, some old face like mine lingers on, waiting for it’s day to come. One will hope for a dwindling population, but with every newbie hauled in, our numbers kept rising, more or less a replica of the world’s own problem; overpopulation which almost every part of the world is facing now. Illegal immigrants perishing in the Mediterranean Sea while trying to reach ‘paradise’, those who succeed and made it through Italy are camped in Calais, North of France with hope of crossing into the UK.

Meanwhile, we have learnt to manage our population problem, no matter how many are hauled in, there will always be a place for them, both in our hearts and on the floor, even in thin air (hammock can float like flying carpets here). Hope the world learn from us, how we managed to fit in over six hundred prisoners in a tiny space built for 216 prisoners.

So much has happened and more are expected to happen since my last blog post. Target killings, prison gangs war (mostly amongst the locals), prison love, treachery amongst leaders and finally the exodus that got us shaken to our cores ๐Ÿ˜‰

Deals gone wrong could get one snuffed out and pretty cheap to do it from the inside – prison all over the world see this happening daily. But the brutality of the Panamanian gangs knows no bounds, a proper liquidation is always administered to enemies, sometimes with several collateral damages.

One incident that happened right under the ‘supposedly’ watchful eyes of armed cops in front of our pavilion; a foreign prisoner from pavilion eight was stabbed several times by locals right outside our pavilion. Police couldn’t and didn’t intervened – Prison gangs policy – cops comes in after the action and not before or during the action. There were rumours the lad died, but we later heard he survived and is hospitalised and finally, we heard it was a case of mistaken identity (even prisoners high in joint sent on mission do make grave error). The target was an inmate who was released that same day, he had walked past the would-be assassins, and they high on joint didn’t recognised the picture they had received, but ended doing another fella who bear resemblance with the freed lad – Asรญ es la vida! And also another reason, I prefer sticking to my pavilion where I can walk around with my eyes closed; friggin joking ๐Ÿ˜‰ wouldn’t even dream of that, if it’s possible to sleep with my eyes wide open, will friggin do it ๐Ÿ˜‰

Amongst us foreign inmates, fights rarely happens, as our unwritten rules are here to guide us, but when it does happen, it can be very fatal and a free-for-all fight. There was one between two Mexicans whom their compatriots allowed them the rare pleasure to vent out their anger on each other and that was what they did; fought mano-a-mano until they got tired ๐Ÿ˜‰ and then rest their cases, after the fight, they became once again true compatriots ๐Ÿ˜‰

There’s been several fights, most lasting few seconds due to interventions of others (the locals won’t interven, they’d rather see blood drawn). Most of the fights are over debts, or thefts. This is prison where criminals, and innocents are slammed in together irrespective of one’s case; both the sentenced and those on remand are hauled in together without segregation. And, in the ย case of Panama as I’ve come to understand, many individuals locked up, are in for being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

When there’s any fight in the pavilion, many will have idea what the brawl is all about; Phones, flipflops, money, phone chargers and even earphones are some of the things the lads steal to resell for quick bucks in order to fund whatever keeps them going. As lousy and stupid as they are, they always steal from their mates; those they are closed to ๐Ÿ˜‰ . Few incidents in the past, group of inmates drinking together, and one has his phone pinched by his drinking mates, before he realised what has happened, the phone is in the underground market or sent out to the locals (who pay less for anything from here) or for a better deal to pavilion eight where the foreign inmates there are like us or even richer than us ;-), as all the shemales are sent there; they pay to get them sent to them. Heard from a mate there, the lads are fighting each other over ass possession ๐Ÿ˜‰

A young lad who was released and later came back and whom another inmate tried ‘shoving’ from behind after a night of seriously binge drinking nicked his mate’s phone. He was caught when he tried sending it outside to the locals; another pal of his ratted him out – don’t trust fellow criminals – ‘No Honour Amonsgt Crooks’ ๐Ÿ˜‰

The lad was kicked out of the pavilion, now locked up with the locals in a sort of cubicle under the administration building. I saw him on my way to school, he asked me to tell his mate to send down his phone. On getting in and delivered his message, I was told that his stuffs have been sent through one of the gay lad working upstairs. Eventually, we found out the lass sold the phone for $130 and has used up the money. Another round of punches, but the lass ran into his cell, with promises of paying back; he friggin blew $100 bucks within 24hours! Probably he paid the young lads to love him or? Wouldn’t want to go further – whatever he does is his ‘Sh!t’. But spending 100 bucks a day here, what the heck was he thinking or what was he on?. Anyway, he got enough punches and I heard the lad promised sending the locals to come for his money, the lad won’t like it when they come.

Other fights in the pavilion have always been with the same group of people; smoking, drinking and gambling partners or the big lads – those like Lord Sewel, the top British politician who was filmed snorting and smooching putas ;-), he’s got some peers here who does just ‘white lines’ – big boys powder! And screws our cheap nightly cheerleader (that’s how our only shemale dresses) .

Meanwhile prison politics is in full swing for those interested and making profits by involvement.

The lives of many prisoners revolves around whatever that keeps them functional and also helps with survival of what lurks around the building and inside our hearts.

Many tend to clinched to religion, despite their allegiance to prison gangs; God will understand ๐Ÿ˜‰

The two faiths that are prominent amongst us; Catholic (also in Latin America) and Evangelical, imported from America and also exported failed drug war policies to same latin America; operation Fast and Furious in Mexico ๐Ÿ˜‰ and has also taught Panama to love and practice mass incarceration – Prison industrial complex – bound to fail like it’s failing in America. #POTUS himself confirmed that, the American Prison system is a total failure, too late for any change.

The two churches are vying for presence and impact amongst prisoners and officials. Too bad no prisoner can become a priest as there are so many hurdles involved, but many and everyone can become a pastor or ‘Servio’ as they are called here – and win the hearts of everyone, especially the officials and cops. That their statuses are now enhance and elevated; they can move around and make decisions, that override those of the director. The prison gangs will only communicate and listen to thsee prisoner-pastors – funny heh!

The group of pastors from all the pavilions makes up the pastor council or whatever they call themselves, maybe council of churches will make a good name for them. They sit and decide what goes on around and within the pavilions. And sometimes and most times their decisions are final. There was a time a prisoner-pastor was caught smuggling knives from pavilion to pavilion, well, wouldn’t say that’s part of the missionary work he’s supposed to be doing or?

Others are also involve in ‘wheeling and dealing’, since they are always upstairs, they get the fattest worms, whatever comes in, they hustle their way through, buying and selling to us that are not opportune to be out there – for many of us, our daily lives will begin and end right in the confinement of our cells, others will make out to the gambling table or to back of the cells to blow joints or snort some white lines, for me and other die-hard gym addict; two or three hours away does and bring about a great deal of relief the torturing life and experience faced each day.

The pastor in my pavilion unlike the locals whom most are ex gang members is a subtle, gentle old lad, soft spoken and a man who pride himself as a man of the cloak – apparently, he became a pastor after he was hauled in, took over the previous one upon his release, but eventually is back, but can’t take over as pastor, he will probably wait till his successor leaves. But the old one is still active and also does his things; pastor business ๐Ÿ˜‰

The prisoner-pastors might not drive flashy cars or live in glass mansions, but they do have their way of living larger than most of us – have seen our pastor with several apple products and his latest is a iPad air, arranges merchandise for my old grocer-cellmate, it’s always favours which seems to come from every corner; the cops wants something from you before letting you out for exercise outside, the old haggard ladies and the younger ones who seems to paint their faces like Japanese geishas in the offices wants money before they look into your file, and the wardens aren’t left out, they want money before they take you upstairs for an appointment. The worse, to get access to medicine, one has to pay through his teeth or buy from the locals who are constantly nicking from the unstaffed clinic. At the end of it, it’s business as usual, someone lose is another’s profit. You are either an active placyer or a dormant spectator.

The pastor association is so strong within the prison system as they have now become the mouthpiece of prisoners. Majority, if not all of them are in the church business as they would be in gangs, it’s an horizontal move from one that look unconvincing to one that easily fools anyone and everyone ๐Ÿ˜‰ #TheChurch!

As news of transfer to the new and unfinished prison looms on, everyone was thrown into uncertainty, well, life behind bars has always been swimming in uncertainties. But this one took us by our balls, as one after another were plucked out from amongst and sent to the new prison. Meanwhile, the new prison has no ventilation system, no electric outlets in the cells to plug in fans or reading lamps and also charge phones ;-), well the last is the most important as it’s one reason we could live through this hell.

While my thought about the transfer wasn’t different from those of other prisoners, I cried my heart out as I will be missing my books; I’ve gradually built a library of ‘very good’ books, mostly reference books which I always refer to when the need arises. With novels, once I’m done, I pass them on to others who will read, sometimes I end up seeing some lying in the passage with pages torn, either to be use as butt for joints or someone who want to scribble telephone numbers. Well, what can I do, I guess nada!

As the news of the transfer heat on, so also was the tension amongst us, many were on the brink of sending their phones outside, and for those of us without families here, I guess we might as well shove our phones behind and take them along ;-), well, it hasn’t come to that, as I heard, some locals in La Joyita that were surprised and taken out chose to destroy all their properties before leving, smart criminals ๐Ÿ˜‰ , and that’s they only time they acted smart, as cops went back to pavilion scavenging and looting whatever they could find; hungry Panamanian cops, the country is in a sorry state.

While most of us were bracing for the transfer, the two most importan prisoners in our pavilion were making their #BailOut plans; pathetic that the two men many looked up to were bailing out secretly. It simple tells what prison, prison politics, prison religion and also justified the saying “there’s no honour amongst thieves” or amongst #prisoners.

The two prisoners who planning bailing out to pavilion eight, as we heard inmates in pavilion eight won’t be transferred; were no other, but our President; done several stint here, always coming back to his former bed and cell; he built it, guess that’s why he always choose to come back to the comfy of his bunk. And the second person who was secretly negotiating with his counterpart in pavilion eight to look for a place for him when that time comes is our resident pastor; the small soft-spoken fella, he and the president had laid down their plans to move. But has things will be, the moved is delayed as the new prison itself is not ready to receive huge numbers of prisoners; there’s no air conditioning, public telephones, groceries, and the cells are not well segregated as the government lied; gangs are mixed, meaning foreigners will be mixed with the locals; not a good idea.

A local news media just published the first shocking tale of what’s happening inside the new mega prison in Panama.

Reports of stabbing, rape and #PrisonGangs fights breaking out in the new prison; which Martinelli’s and now Varela’s flaunt as the most secured prison ever – what a clown they are ๐Ÿ˜‰ . Isn’t it pathetic, they couldn’t control the gangs here, and in the new prison, they still can’t keep them under control; thier idea of control is simply keeping #prisoners under #Lockup #Lockdown!

It simply tells how corrupt the system is; yet,ย donors from The West are still pumping in money into panama to help fight crime, but indirectly ended up fattening politicians bank accounts and their waistlines ย ๐Ÿ˜‰ .

How did knives, guns, drugs, grenades and other weapons get into the new fortified prison? If not for corrupt police officers who are also the ones smuggling them into the old prison, prisoners won’t get them. A leopard can’t wash off its spots; corruption runs and flows through the veins of everyone here in panama – from the top right to the bottom feeders ๐Ÿ˜‰

Meanwhile, tension brewed seriously high amongst my fellow inmates, my only fear and angst was what I will do with my books and some of my training gears; those that were picked out to the new prison, were only allowed 2 pairs of short, a pair of long trousers, 2 flip-flops, a pair of sneakers/trainers and 2 underwear. Not that the system has special uniforms or clothes waiting for them, not even bedsheets or pillows. They weren’t to take their fans, water heater, spoons (plastic or metals), toothbrushes we buy right inside were broken into two parts, so they couldn’t be fashioned into weapons #Shanks! , well, the lads wouldn’t need weapons made from toothbrushes when there are proper arsenals of proper firepower and armoury in the new prison ๐Ÿ˜‰ friggin logical!

While everyone prepared and waited for whatever is coming, our two leaders were seriously planning of going AWOL; the president of the pavilion and the Pastor of the pavilion, were both busy making arrangements with their buddies in pavilion eight, so if the inevitable happen they will move over to that pavilion. Had always thought that the captain will be the last man standing, the last man to evacuate his sinking ship – Naaaaaah! Not with prisoners, all are traitors, cowards and true to the saying “There’s no honour amonsgt thieves” (Prisoners) – everyman is on his own, and that’s has been my modo operandi – my surviving tactics, have friends but don’t keep them, play at distance and play safe. Have seen several cat plays in the gym turned into proper fights that has to be stopped before bloodletting – #PrisonViolence

Eventually, deals were reached after the government realised that the new prison isn’t ready to receive and accommodate the thousands of inmates they had planned. Former president, Martinelli rushed through the construction as a political strategy to win the election and claimed the construction cost US$125M, but ended up leaving an uncompleted project for Varela whom his prodigy lost bitterly to ๐Ÿ˜‰ #DirtPolitics.

Deals reached, we were eventually given permit to repair our pavilion, which will cost us inmates, thousands of dollars. Isn’t it crazy that prisoners have to build and renovate their own prison at their cost and we aren’t working or being paid. We’ve been levied to pay for the total cost of the repairs, welding work, painting, and washing, even the plumbing jobs – and all materials are bought and paid for by inmates. The government don’t just give a damn – once that door is locked, they are as good as gold!

Now that we’ve been allowed some time, our president decided to get back into their respective offices. For the president, there wasn’t much hassles as his men are the ones in the executive committee – smart lad ;-), he just continued as if nothing had happened.

It wasn’t that easy with the pastor, as he was called into the inner caucus of Prisoner-pastors; meeting upon meeting were held, and at every meetings, drinks and light refreshments were consumed, money from the church purse ๐Ÿ˜‰

He was eventually punished, asked to step down as pastor of the pavilion, while the former pastor who returned after a break on the outside took over his job. Part of his punishment was daily fasting from 6am to 6pm each day, and he’s barred from going upstairs to the administration block; as that’s where the real deal is – businesses are forged in those tiny airconditioned offices with those lazy-lousy women who are always shaky when too much men surrounds them ๐Ÿ˜‰

It shows are deceptive everything can be once they are practised within the wall of prisons.

Many prisoners have asked me why I don’t practice organised religion inside prison, my response to them has always been the same; I’ve been here long enough to see what goes on inside here, I’m better off with my personal relationship with God! Period!

The same so-called ‘servio’ or men of god as they call themselves or “Hermano” are constantly in fights over flimsiest issues that one can easily brush off – but not these lads. They believe everything should be solve through violence. Since most if not all don’t read, their vocabulary bank are very limited, they are short of words for any given situation to us; thus, words we frequently hear are words of insults and provocations. And for the churchgoers, it’s only “Dios Bendica” “Hermano” “Baron” “Biblia Dice” ๐Ÿ™‚

I guess this is were prison education should come, books for prisoners, reading clubs amongst inmates should be introduced. Proper rehabilitation should be enforced just as archaic punishment has been enforced on prisoners.

But the authorities and power that be, ones who runs the system won’t benefit from empty prison cells, thus, they won’t be doing anything to stop reoffending, and recidivism to cut the numbers of mass incarceration.

At the end, one comes to a conclusion; like every multinationals and internationally affiliated corporation, prison is just another industrial complex for profit making. Someone or group of persons are definitely benefiting from mass incarceration as locking people doesn’t reduce crime rate; instead the bad guys are just taken away from the scene and kept for a while, waiting to return and pick up from where they were stopped.

Meanwhile, it’s been fiesta upon fiesta as many went about with their life and do what they have been doing since they were hauled in to keep them smiling while doing tiem. Talking of hauling – more and more are thrown into the pavilion, well, there’s always a space for one more on the floor; on Friday, 7th Aug, Nine were hauled in and seven sent to pavilion eight, those thrown in here were mostly Brazilians. I hope they will enjoy their journey here and maybe teach us how to samba ๐Ÿ˜‰ . There’s a compatriot of theirs that will show them around. It’s always nice when one has a friend in prison to help him upon the hauling in ;-), another spaniard was also thrown in, saw the old lad moving amonsgt the numbers. Hope he blends in soon. There’re quite a handful of Spaniards here waiting to be repatriated; one has a hernia the size of apple hanging on his waistline, friggin look like a talisman ๐Ÿ˜ฆ .

Just found out the young Brazilian is gone; there’s so much faces here, that I’m losing count and faces. At least I still know the old ones and those who turns up in the gym every now and then.

More on our pastor who was about to jumped ship; he’s been demoted or dethroned, and now becomes a bit of backbencher in the church he once wailed absolute power. In prison, the church, especially the evangelical church commands such power that the authorities hear them first before critical decisions about the lives of prisoners are taken; can’t they friggin see these men were once crooked and crooks who are trying to buy time off their sentences and bailout. Well, they can fool the authorities not me as 6 years behind bars has taught me quite a lot.

Now, the old pastor has lost all privileges and the new one who was caught while attempting to jump bail and sneaked into Colombia, hauled back to continue with his case; more than eleven years without trials, all in his case are all gone, principal suspect Rayo Montaรฑa apparently has Brazilian citizenship, thus, Brazil won’t extradite him to panama. That case should have collapsed since 2005/6 but they kept it open and banged up people without trials. Finally, released after 7- 8 years! #WastedYears!

The catholic really has no power as they scream and use instruments; everything they do is done in silence. Not the evangelicals who are up all night praying down heaven, but with knives in their pants like the lads in Pavilion 5; one will confused that pavilion for a church, services are held daily there, but hasn’t changed who and what they are or were meant to be, or what they set out to become.

It will take real pragmatic rehabilitation and tangible programme to get those lads out of crime; they gotta learn how to read and work. Seen many in my pavilion, the only book they read is the Bible ;), I do read the Bible, but gotta get me ready for the outside world – reality! I read anything that I know I will make use of once I’m back home.

Meanwhile, another incident in the evangelical church got me laughing. ๐Ÿ˜‰ – one of the old leaders broke away and started his own church based on his school of thought or ideology; he’s got a cellmate of his who claimed he was a pastor in Venezuela before getting into moving tons of Angel Dust (maybe the angels told him to move some holy dust).

Anyway, they worked on our little pond which always served as our water reservoir when it rains and there’s no water in the pavilion; many depend on it for water to flush toilets. They cemented the pond and cleaned it up, made it look like a jacuzzi ;-), though without the bubbles ;).

When I asked a mate who’s the only christian here as he practice what he reads; he told me the stories of the lads, they have their own sets of beliefs, which is different from the mother church. Since they can’t get to agree, they broke up and started their fellowship, and they are gaining membership amongst the inmates population. Prisoners need religion, but they also need to be rehabilitated.

They have now made the pond their baptismal pool ;-), I’m waiting to see who will be their first convert to be baptised in the pond.

Well, we all have a way of doing time; to them, they choose that, I hope it helps them. But from experience, and what I have seen with the locals, they all end up returning upon release and once back, they pick up their old Bible and continue from where they stopped. Got my wondering if they were arrested like Paul and Silas for preaching the word of God on the streets and hauled back to prison ๐Ÿ˜‰ Naaaaaaaah! They went back to their old vices, dust and oiled their guns, and went about gangs-banging! That’s what happens if the authorities won’t break the vicious circle which these lads are entangled in! #Crime #Prison #Freedom and back to the beginning #Crime!

From my perspective, religion is good, if we take it as moral guide to guide us as we walk the earth and live with each other. One man’s religion should never be used to enforced rules on another; which becomes fanatical and leads to rebellion. I have seen many of my evangelical inmates buddies argue with the catholic lads; it’s always war without an end ๐Ÿ˜‰

For now, we continue with our time as each new day filled with mysteries unfold itself to us; but then, nothing that happens in prison is new or has never happened before. It’s always history repeating itself – Dรจ Javu!

Making The Best Of A Bad Situation :

You’re standing at a crossroads and you don’t know which way to go. Do you wait for the direction to become apparent, or do you make a choice and go one way, knowing that every step could be taking you further and further away from where you want to go?

Iย have learned that no matter what kind of distraction came up. I had to refocus immediately on what I was doing.

Thriving under pressure is all about locking into an incredible, intense focus. You have to be in control all the time, even when everything around you is chaotic.

When things take a turn for the worse, it can be hard to fight off the wave of frustration that washes over you.

The best way to pull through such moment is hyperfocused and concentrate what is coming on next on my agenda.

No matter how bad the day before was, learn to accept failures, mistakes and learn from them and move on.

It’s all about what happens today than what happened yesterday and what will happen tomorrow!

Wie geen fouten maakt, maakt meestal niets – #ervaring #Gevangenis #mindsetofaprisoner

No law should be more harmful than the behaviour it is trying to regulate; either in term of punishment or correction. #PrisonExperience #SurvivingPrison #prisonersdillema #massincarceration.

The Prison Experience – The Never-Ending Uncertainties. ย 

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama on June 25, 2015 by doingtimeabroad

Man without freedom and dignity is nothing. Freedom to be occurs when man is free to express himself, openly and completely on the polarities of anger-love and strength-weakness. It is a process of dynamic being in the here-and-now in which realities and goals are constantly changing. Only a person who is tuned to constant change and growth is actualising or is free. Otherwise, he is tied to the rigid patterns of the past or to the inflexible goals of the future.

Life is a vast, uncharted territory through which we must break trail, backing and detouring at times, moving forward purposefully when we find a clear passage.

Hardship, pain and frustration are essential qualities of human life. In our search for personal maturation, pain is the very condition of growth. We must learn to enjoy the discomfort of striving.

We can grow from each valley of worry, inability, fear, hurt, pain, or frustration — provided that we are willing ‘to go through them’. #PrisonExperience #SurvivingPrison #mindsetofaprisoner.

The above excerpts from “Beyond Man, the Manipulator Toward – #FreedomToBe” by Everett Shostrom, Ph.D.

It’s fine to celebrate success but it’s more important to heed the lessons of failure.

Je kunt het verleden niet veranderen, maar je kunt het vandaag wel beter doen. #GevangenisErvaring

It’s been a very long time I publish a blog, since my signal dropped and have to depend on others to use their modems, I’m more into twitter ๐Ÿ˜‰

Doesn’t stop me from keeping track of our lives as we journey through time and overcrowded space within the high concrete walls of this building.

The process is a long and cruelly one, each day comes with its own surprises. One must be fully prepared for whatever is thrown at him. The ability to adapt and adopt to the prison life is one quality or criteria for survival.

Monday, ย 22 Jun. 2015


Latest Developments on news of prisoners transfer to the new prison; mega joya! #Panama

Earlier today, Mexicans inmates who had consular visit, were upstairs and had a face to face meeting with the director of La Joya prison on the impending transfer to the new prison.

According to the director, the pavilion will be emptied by august. Thus, the move will affect everyone of us.

When asked if the prison system will be providing the basic toiletries; toiltet papers, bathing and washing soaps, toothpaste, toothbrushes, as we the foreign inmates do not get visit like the locals do and happened to have their families bring them all those things. ย The. Director responded with a capital ‘NO’, such question should be directed to the director of prisons and corrections in Panama, Mr. Pinzon.

When told that, many of the elderly prisoners are diabetics and need special diets and medications, and if the prison will provide them with their diets, the director also responded with another ‘NO’ – according to him, the embassies should take care of their citizens as they “Panama” take care of theirs “Prison logic” from a supposedly director of prison. Where do they pick these men to run prisons?

When the lads asked him about education and work for foreign inmates as the locals also gets the benefits of both for time reduction; our supposedly ‘hardcore’ director replied – the prison has no facilities to rehabilitated foreign prisoners, well, wouldn’t blame him on that, as they can’t even rehabilitate their own citizens and even the cops are yet to be rehabilitated and be true cops ๐Ÿ˜‰ ‘something never gonna change’ – if there’s rehabilitation, then no crime and nobody profit, meaning somebody wants this vicious circle to continue. #PrisonBiz #PrisonIndustrialComplex #RepeatedOffenders #MassIncarceration

Moreover, the director added that there would be mix up with the locals, not like we are, separated from the locals. I don’t think, that’s a good idea, but then, that’s when the real #prisonexperience begins, as we (foreigners) will literally be walking, sleeping with knives, it’s a call to arm oneself and #BePrepared for the expected and unexpected #PrisonViolence.

The lousy goon added, there won’t be patio or yard, no gym. Facility (there wasn’t any here, but we improvised and built one ourselves). ย There is no electricity in the cells, just a light bulb that is centrally controlled; not outlet to plug reading lamp, fan, radio or whatsoever. No electric appliances allowed, well, if there’s no outlet to plug them, of what use having them. That got me wondering what’s the purpose of spending so much money to build such a massive city that’s bound to fail; thinking of the massive endemic corruption ๐Ÿ˜‰

He also said, books won’t be allowed, and there won’t be school for foreigners, that we are meant to do our time and go home; won’t be surprise about that, as it’s what is done to the locals, do time and go home, then come back to do more time, go home and then back, just like that….it continues till that one is taken out through violence which is also a thriving business in panama.

21:10:03 Tues 23 jun. 2015

It seems the government are working round the clock to make sure La Joya and La Joyita will be empty before August. Two lads with residency in panama and with short time left on their sentences were moved to the new prison on Sunday; both are working, one was the pavilion’s technician and the other works in the kitchen. Both are due to be release within few months from now.

According to the lad who works in the kitchen, he was slammed in a cell with eleven other inmates, no fan, little window with little or no ventilation, it’s like inferno in there; and that’s supposed to be the most outspoken project of the former self-exiled president, Mr. Ricardo Martinelli (a white elephant project)! He and his goons profited from building of the penal city. Now, the new president, JC Varela, wants to make his own bucks by building an island prison; everyone comes with his own solution to the cancerous problems in panama. Instead of a simple solution of maintenance and making good use of the what they already have; end mass incarceration, proper rehabilitation process, reduce remand time in custody, as most accused end up waiting 2-3 years for lousy investigation and before they are arraigned before a judge. If they could work on this, it would make a change.

The two lads who were moved on sunday weren’t allowed to take anything electrical with them, not even their fans, well, even if they took them, how would they get them to work as there aren’t any socket to plug them in. All the cells are plain, unpainted with central lighting system; well, that’s the first thing that will be broken.

The tension doesn’t stop me from doing what I have to do to keep my day busy; my daily workouts, reading and surfing, though signal is poor and weak, seems to be stronger at night, likely, I might stay up tonight to publish this long-due blog.

The heatwave still grilling and baking us, and at the same time, new inmates are hauled in to meet their fate and worst nightmares; loads were dumped here on Friday and few were hauled in today, tired of keeping track of numbers, but just saw three new faces walked by with bin bags in their hands. I wish them luck as they begin the adaptation process; for the ‘Real Newbies’, and the old schools or repeated offenders, pick up from where they stopped and also learn our unwritten laws and adapt to them.

The grocery stores in the pavilion aren’t stocking up as they used to, others businesses aren’t booming as they use, well, joints and coke still selling, so also booze and #Moonshine; despite the fear of uncertainties, many are still feasting when they have to ๐Ÿ˜‰

Many inmates would love to sell their televisions, fans or whatever they can, but nobody is willing to buy anything now. My only fear, my books, don’t know what I will do with them as I heard, we won’t be allowed to take anything with us. I hope there will be a way.

Earlier today, our ex presidente was released, lad voluntarily stepped down months ago, thinking he was going home then, only to found out, there were errors in his documents; clumsy human errors, had to do extra months. Glad he’s finally gone after years behind bars ๐Ÿ˜‰

The gym was scanty today, it’s either they had too much of visit foods yesterday and couldn’t get up for the day’s workout or the heat is driving them off. Few went outside to walk or jogged, glad the cops are a bit cooperative; leaving the door half opened for us, so anyone can go outside for fresh air, that’s something we won’t be getting at the new prison.

Had a good chest workout, took it to #HIIT #Hardcore ;-), few lads joined me, didn’t allowed them to spoil my program. Rounded up with cardio routines.

Back in, the lads cooked chicken, had to guide my pharmacist-cellmate through the cooking process as the lad doesn’t know how to cook ;-), he’s amongst many who buys cooked food from different kitchens in the pavilion ;-). I rather cook my food, as I know what I’m cooking and what I want to eat; healthier and cleaner ๐Ÿ˜‰

From my old Canadian mate, who has been incarcerated almost same years as I, seems good news is coming his way. I have written a lengthy letter/email to the vice minister of government in panama; as a law student in Harvard, she did an extensive study of abuses of human rights during Martinelli’s administration, and now she is government, there hasn’t been any changes from all she wrote about.

In my email/letter, which the Canadian embassy presented to her, I made mention of all her works; glad, I was able to find them online, copied and saved the articles and also copied her the links. I hope she will use her office and start working on finding a solution to our problems. #prisonersdillema

Despite the tension of the impending move, it’s relatively quiet, but something sinister is about to happen if these move happen and thousands of inmates are dumped in cells hot as oven, then Panama should be expecting one massive #PrisonRiot #PrisonViolence. It will be one of a kind; a local pal of mine says, they are planning a massive protest if they are moved there without fans.

I hope signal will be strong enough to get this publish. Staying up tonight!

#FathersDay2015 was wonderful as my kids sent powerful and uplifting ย messages cheering and lifting up my spirit. It was all I needed to keep me going. Schat, has been all and all, staying stronger and doing the right thing for herself and the kids. She taken into fitness, as I’m guiding her through her daily exercises, and she is loving it.

Others in the pavilion, enjoyed themselves in their own ways; all through the #FathersDay weekend was puro fiestas in the pavilions. Loads of #Moonshine, our prison distilled liquor, proper liquor from the streets and enough joints and whites to keep the lads functioning. Everything went on pretty well, more of an organised chaos, without any incident.

And it all ended on Monday, which was family visit; kids are allowed on such visit. Those that went out, were able to spend short, but quality time with their children, and other family members. In my cell, only my pharmacist-cellmate went out, the grocer and the boxer didn’t. Guess, reasons best known to them; one thing I’ve learnt here, don’t ask or want to know what ain’t your friggin business. You live longer if you adhere to that basic rule ๐Ÿ˜‰ ‘Mind your own business, and mind your language’ ๐Ÿ˜‰

Also, heard that the snake-of-a-compatriot who was repatriated to Nederland is now freed, lad is a pure wanker of the lowest order; we all fought for changes to the treaty, it worked and his application was approved, he kept it to himself, even on the day he was living, he lied through his rotten teeth, that he’s going to clinic; lucky, clould have gotten one of the locals to mark him for a fiver ๐Ÿ˜‰ #JustSaying! But was bad of him to have kept us in the dark. Well, such is life and he’s a repeated offender. I’d placed a wager with a mate that, he won’t last long on the street before returning to the joint, it’s friggin in his blood. we always have our news source; the Google of the underworld, someone knows someone ๐Ÿ˜‰

Talking of knowing someone ;-), Prison happens to be a place were some men will reinvent themselves; build a new profile for themselves, until someone who knows them or knows someone who knows them walks in and then begins the discomfort as their house of cards would come stumbling down in a thousand pieces ๐Ÿ˜‰

An old Canadian inmate (not my intelligent old pal), but one who professes to be ‘Jack of all trades’, well, of all crimes met his karma when a proper Canadian who knew and still knows people that matters in the underworld of Canada was hauled in. In desperation, the old guy planned to have the new lad kicked out, but it failed as nobody is interested in his stories. The lad told it all out about the old geezer, he had truly reinvented himself here; ‘In the kingdom of the blinds, the one-eye man is the king’, in his case, the one-legged man is the king!

After the lad gave him bits of his hidden history, he now keeps himself under control in the gym, he’s friggin humbled ;-), well, he has never stood up to me, as I have kept my distance and always placed him were he belonged. Such is the #PrisonLife, lies after lies to survive ๐Ÿ˜‰

We now know why the old lad been fighting against repatriation to Canada; he was under parole, absconded and came to panama to do business and ended up slammed in a kingdom of the blind, where he became the king ;-), but his date and day with fate coming soon.

The simple life is the best life; treat everything, everyone the way you want to be treated. Period!

Old blog:

April, and May came and gone, not so much happening within and amongst us; quite a lot of old faces are gone, some are back to continue where they threw their towels. Some are lucky to get back to their old cells where they once lived. Others made do with floor space in the gym hall.

The reoffending rate is growing like a wildfire; the locals are seeing their peers leave and return before the doors they walked out are closed ๐Ÿ˜‰

Seems some preferred the life in prison than the. Brutality of the outside world; in prison, they can sleep all day, free food, if they can bare to eat it, got constant security to watch their backs; either their fellow prison gangs members or the trigger-happy ย cops mounted on towers with rifles ready to shoot at any moving object.

Despite the high security, there’s been series of #PrisonBreak and attempted escape; mostly amongst the locals and the recent one in pavilion eight , a foreign inmate has dressed up like a warden, walked out, went through first and second security, but someone gave him up (snitch, rat, sapo) – his failed #PrisonBreak caused a total #lockdown and searches were carried out, curfew of zero-movement was in place. At the end, those warden uniform wasn’t made inside the prison, the families didn’t bring them in during visits, it was same corrupt cops and wardens who planned it and had it executed. #corruptsystem

Cops don’t worry much when a local escape as they know where they will find them; mum’s house, girlfriend’s or their fellow gang members will give up their hideout ;-), escaped foreign inmates are haunted down with all available materials as they know, those are heading out of the country.

A Colombian who was waiting an extradition to US, escaped from hospital where he was admitted for treatment (part of the game), lad must have paid heavily to have sneaked through tight security. But he made it to Colombia where he called his mates in the pavilion. When there’s corruption, money speaks loudest ๐Ÿ˜‰

Meanwhile, the new government is hunting down corrupt officials from the previous administration; but the leader of the pack, ex-president Ricardo Martinelli is still at large, he’s been out of the country since January this year and yet to return. He’s probably on self exile ;-), ย  friggin scare of prison ๐Ÿ˜‰

Parts of his crews are slammed up in various prisons, some are singing, so they can get a deal for a minimum prison term. Weaklings!

Development; Colombia which has the most foreign prisoners in panama prisons has embarked on repatriating their citizens home en masse!

The first batch were picked up by a military jet, and the process to get many home is in place now; fingerprints were taken from many of the old inmates here, I guess same was done in other pavilions housing foreign inmates. It’s a step Colombia is taking to help panama decongest their prisons. Panama has about 16,000 inmates in total with more than a thousand foreigners slammed in deplorable and overcrowded concentration-camps-like pavilions.

Sunday, ย 7 Jun. 2015

Our overcrowded conditions has caused the infrastructures to break down; nothing seems to be working. There’s no access to medical, school or work projects, not even the food are enough, almost everyone cooks for themselves. The buildings themselves are collapsing on us, those sleeping up on top of the cells and others hanging on hammocks high up in the pavilion are of higher risk than those of us inside the cell. But, if there’s a fire outbreak, we are all fucked!

There’s been no water for three days now, everyone has fallen back to their reserves, who knows how long we are going without water. Earlier today, we were thrown into darkness, as I’m writing, there’s no electricity -Sun, 7 Jun. 2015, 13:15:53 – no-one knows how long we will remain in this state. It can go on for days, especially witht the water.

Meanwhile, diverse smuggling rings has been disrupted by cops; searches were carried out amongst the locals, where bottles of whiskeys, new knives, guns, drugs and many prohibited items were found, seized and display before the media. I have got some pictures on my twitter timelines; @Doingtimeabroad @PoeticPrisoner

Decided to make contact with the new minister of justice back home in The Netherlands, with request that my case be reviewed as his predecessor turned down my request for transfer to a dutch prison, which will bring me closer to my family and also give me the chance to round up my studies. Hope my email and letter gets to his office.

Friday, 1 May, 2015

It’s been a very hectic and a hell-of-a-week; sometimes it’s so quiet and tranquil, but then, our little peace is shattered by foolishness of some prisoners.

Well, today went fine for me as I had a good workout, more or less alone; I’m beginning to learn to train alone without thinking of any partners, though there are some nice lads that still want to stick with me as they all look up on me for guidance and help.

Being the only one here who will buy fitness and men’s health magazines, many always come for advices or ask for new routines as they get bored doing same thing over and over again ๐Ÿ˜‰

Decided to hit shoulders today as I haven’t been putting emphasis on them; well, tend to work it in many upper body routines and during Olympic lifts which has become part of me training routines.

Went through my routines with my American partner joining after he finished with another group earlier on, didn’t last long as he left. Others came late but got around doing their own thing.

A mate came out to use the pulley system as he was training back today; but the lad was so stupid as he sat down waiting for the groups using the pulley system to round up before he starts.

I advised him to get started with other back routines; using dumbbells, Olympic bar and even get going with pull-ups (which I prefer to pull-down ), he wouldn’t budge, and he waited for an hour plus before he began, well we have got so much time here, nothing to do and nowhere to go to ๐Ÿ˜‰

While in the gym, electricity went off and lasted till around 2pm; ate cold cereal as my postworkout meal and also my lunch.

No water all day; went on through the night, but thank God it rained after my workout, so we had our blue tank filled and the second one half full. They will be enough to take us through the day.

If there won’t be water tomorrow, then we are all falling back on our reserves, which will be very hard on us.

Now to the week!

The gym in prison like gyms outside has become a joint for socialising with people. Majority of my fellow inmates spend more time chatting about irrelevant things than working out. I’ve tried to refrain from such behaviour; nothing important, we talk after my workout. And glad I have an earphone which shuts me away from their lousy talks.


My cellmate who was involved in a fight with another lad, finally retaliated by hitting the lad with a metal bar. He hit the lad so hard on his back, the lad was rushed to the hospital; he took the lad unaware. I was speechless as to what he did; he’s a grown up man of 53, but probably with the mind of a kid. He had insisted he will hit the lad, but he forgot that, in hitting the lad, it will bring about chains of reactions which might be very bloody and bitter.

As of today; my cellmate literally locks himself up in his little shack built on top of our cell. He kind of barricades himself in every night, now closes the windows, lock and tie them together, does same to the door and keeps a urine bottle under his bed where he takes a leak at night as he’s scare of venturing outside during the wee hours.

Well, when you decide to live violently, then you should expect something violent and unpleasant in return.

He told me that they are having meetings to throw him out of the pavilion, well, if such meeting is called for, many will vote for him to be thrown out; as this is not his first fight. And all stems up from flimsy arguments over sports; something I’ve tried to refrain from. I watch and read all I want for me and myself, not ready to discuss anything with inmates who can’t and won’t want to understand that arguments shouldn’t end in physical brawl. Thus, I stick to myself.

The only friend I have, left on Thursday after his lawyer or liar had played him around for a very long time. But finally got to work on his case after the lad asked for refund. I’m happy that he left, as he spent so much. His leaving has literally made me closed myself to everyone and everything around as I don’t have any dealings or businesses with anyone here.

There’s tension in the pavilion, as so much has been going on; the government are planning moving inmates to the new prison; which we heard is more of an inferno than where we are now. There’s no electric outlet or sockets for fan or television; meaning we’ll be grilled in the heat and no means to charge phones if at all we can get them to work as the signal jammers are more stronger there.


Just around 8pm, our alarm system went off as inmates catcalled and whistles; we thought, we are been stormed upon. But it was cops moving around in search of an escaped local inmate from one the locals pavilions; got me wondering why they bother to search when they know the lad hasn’t got too many a option after escaping from prison. He will likely be at his mum’s or girlfriend’s or hang out with one of his gang bangers ๐Ÿ˜‰

Within days, he will be caught and hauled back to continue with his time ๐Ÿ˜‰

The panic really got us shaken as we didn’t know what was coming; if it’s the dreaded transfer, meaning we are definitely losing our phones and a lot of things. First thing first, we were at our stash points, then we heard why the cops were around; I guess from local inmates who have contacts here, that it’s a #PrisonBreak case. Got us relaxed, well for the moment.

When the commotion went on, many thought it was the big fight which we all know will come; the fight that my cellmate has started. And it will be Dominicans vs. Colombians (the majorities here).

The fight has also caused my friend to stay away from the gym, even if he goes to the gym now, he won’t be able to concentrate on his workout; he was and had never concentrated on his workout. If he had in the past, he wouldn’t have gotten into fights. Moreover, he forgot that he is diabetic, one who spent almost a month in the hospital for treatment.

The only peaceful way the Colombians want to resolve this case, is by having him thrown out of the pavilion and from all indications, they are bent on doing just that. He has talked to his fellow compatriots and others who cares to listen; that the lad hit him with a dumbbell, that’s why he retaliated. But many are saying the lad is a quiet guy and my mate must have provoked him first.

For now, we wait and see what comes next!!!

While we wait, we remain watchful and alert and with our backs to the wall!

Few are blaming me; saying I knew about it and didn’t do anything to stop it as I did during the first fight. Well, my mate took me unaware and since he refused listening to me, then he acted on his own and as an adult, thus, he should be man enough to face whatever consequences comes from his childishness ๐Ÿ˜‰

I doubt if many of his compatriots will join him as the core ones are waiting for their freedom; they won’t be stupid to get into fights that will jeopardise their walk to freedom. Thus, he’s definitely on his own!

Month of May:

Literally hot as it hasn’t rain for days, we had hoped that rain will begin this month, but it seems we were wrong as it has rained since the last drops on the first week of the month. Since then, it’s been heatwaves after heatwaves, grilling us as we waddled through the sweat of one another. The pavilion like others in the system is overcrowded, we barely have breathing space to move around. Once I’m done with my workout, I’m confined to my cell, even in my cell, sitting up on my bunk is the only way I can avoid humany bodily contact. That is the only way I can escape the furnace.

But, one has to do other things, I can’t lock myself away all day, have to move around and do little chores. Most importantly, I have to buy ice, which is the only source of comfort here; at least I can afford to drink chilled or iced water ๐Ÿ˜‰

Sometimes, it’s hard to understand how some inmates can go on drinking spree for days under such heat. The heat alone can drive a sane person insanely stupid as one tends to lose composition and sense of reality.

Despite our deplorable conditions which Panama’s media are now taking serious, the government is not ready to do anything to change it. Instead, more and more inmates are hauled in on daily basis.

Wo 8 Apr. 2015

The holy week came with everything sealed up for the holidays. Every holiday brings its ordeals on us; shortage of water, no groceries, no ice ๐Ÿ˜‰ and even the gym is closed, which annoys me most.

Luckily, this week we had a very good cop, who will be going home with more than his salary in freewill money gifts from inmates from being a good cop; that’s if there’s any good cop!

He opened the door and allowed us outside to workout, which I helped myself to couple of days during the holy week; did mostly cardio and used my new 40lbs toy #kettlebell ๐Ÿ˜‰

I have been reading a lot about kettlebell, after training with it, found out, it’s a very pragmatic and functional equipment; getting every part of the body into work ๐Ÿ˜‰ loving it โค

Had always believed that the holy week should be a moment for reflection and getting aright with one’s creator, at. Least understand the relevance and true meaning of Easter; well, to many of us, it’s moment to get pissed on the benders ๐Ÿ˜‰

The catholic faithfuls had their priest come around and performed easter service, while the evangelicals has theirs; apparently, they have updated their sound systems, better drum sets, keyboard, but they won’t beat the warring local inmates in pavilion five. Those lads are probably operating the best church in the centre alongside herd of gangs; I believe they are always armed while in church, as the church seems to be operating round the clock. Actually saw that firsthand in Renacer; right from church into the fields, knives drawn and blood spilled. I believe Jesus blood was enough to wash us clean, but these lads just love shedding more blood, wondering what more they want to cleanse ๐Ÿ˜‰

Well, as for me and other fitness enthusiasts, we didn’t allow the easter break to stop us from doing what we love doing; having a cop who seem to know quite a handful of the lads here back then (tells, the kind of cop he is), he allowed us outside but very cautious as he wouldn’t want the captain to know we are outside.

Took off on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, but did what I have to do all throughout the holidays; helps with my day and also my mind. Taking my #Yoga seriously and also doing more stretches (dynamic) and isometric routines, ain’t gonna be all lifting, pushing and pulling ๐Ÿ˜‰ . During my consul last visit she was able to bring in my XL #YogaMat and even brought in my 40lbs #Kettlebell, and friggin cops won’t let in vital vitamins and supplements and not even my weightlifting belt; friggin wankers.

I pray she is able to bring them in on the next visit, which will be in June ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

The week after easter:

Panama was thrown into another #Lockdown after easter as it’s hosting the #SummitOfTheAmericas #CumbrePanama and having the three heads of the countries making headlines now in the America continent; #USA #Cuba #Venezuela. All eyes and ears will be on the #US and #Cuba as both are on pathways to normalised broken relationship after years of isolation has left the latter battered. #Maduro of Venezuela, doesn’t look happy as he won’t be getting anything nice from uncle sam ;-), lad has been a badass naughty boy!

As for us #Lockup and left to rot away; security seemed to have heightened in the wake of this meeting. Wondering, if they feel someone will break out to do some dirty job on one of the heads of states ;-), the lads are definitely busy think of where their next roll of joint or line of cokes will come from and busy arranging for credit for our potent liquor to help them through boring weekend ๐Ÿ˜‰

Well, from all I have been reading and what I have heard from all the leaders; it’s time the #USA #US stop meddling with other countries domestic affairs, friggin let and leave them to kill themselves, concentrate on guarding your borders and stop evil coming in. Leave every man to his fate, if they want to ruin their countries, leave them alone, when their citizens are tired of their leaders oppressions they will revolt and fight ๐Ÿ˜‰

The summit is not helping us at all, as all our loopholes are sealed, nothing is coming in, exception of few bottles of whiskey and the usuals; coke, weed and knives ;-), proper food aren’t allowed or smuggled in, well, few chickens been nicked and sold her by the locals collaborating with their buddies in here. And those amongst us working in the kitchen are nicking and pilfering the kitchen stock to sell to their buddies. Have tried to break into their ring, but it’s a tight syndicate; only inmates from same country are members ๐Ÿ˜‰ will keep trying as I can get vegetables (something I need badly).

My workout this week has been very intensive, doing more of all-body routines, perfecting my Olympic lifts. My group is growing with each day, and what I hate most, some comes and then disappeared for days, and then reappear; friggin playing Houdini with my mind ๐Ÿ™‚

I have found a way to work #HIIT in a group of 6/7 members; get about with other activities while waiting to take my turn in the normal routine, but for them, they will rather sit out and cold ;-). I incorporate bodyweight routines while waiting for my regular routines; abs, lunges, planks, burpees and anything that would keep me pumping and not idling around ๐Ÿ˜‰

Our shemale looking robust; seems Turkish doing her well, but from what I tend to see every night, she is dating two lads in the same cell. Either she is with Turkish or a Dominican lad whose eyes always green when he sees her playing around with others; love at first lockup ๐Ÿ˜‰

Za 11 Apr. 2015

It’s weekend; made it to the gym today, which is usually my free day. Decided to hit legs and took it seriously, we had high volumes of squats, lunges and rounded up with abs and cable routines. Enjoyed today’s workout; probably one of my best this week. Had started with 30mins of #yoga poses and stretches #HinduPushups, warmed up with body-weight squats and lunges and then went to the day’s business; #Squat and seriously heavy ๐Ÿ˜‰

Felt very good after the workout Endorphins and Dopamine surging and keeping me smiling; even the few who braced it were thankful for the push I gave them and bringing them out as not many fancied leg days ;-). My American training mate was totalled after the workout, he will feel it tomorrow, as he won’t be able to get down from his top bunk bed ๐Ÿ˜‰

No proper food today; helped myself to mixed cereals with nuts and after workout and later for lunch/dinner had full plate of mixed salads with chunk of beef-like meat from the dinner cart. Will do another bowl of cereal later in the evening. Need my protein, hope to get someone to pick them up from my embassy.

Tuesday 21 April 2015

We strives to avoid certain things, inevitably they seems to be right before us and about to take us unaware; that was what happened today at the gym!

My day has began as it does with any other day, well except when we are awoken by an early morning search. Went through mmy morning rituals and out to the gym for the day’s routine; taking a break from Olympic lifting and Crossfit routines. Decided for conventional body parts routines; back and shoulders. Bit rowdy in the gym, but got my way through, gathered enough weights for my workout; none of my training mates showed up, not bad as I’m not working what I would be in need of a spotter.

Had a good workout before others joined me, my diabetic cellmate also came; bit late, he’s not specific with his routines, does whatever he sees other doing. Lad spends most of his gym time talking than working; guess, it what’s keep him going.

Today’s talk actually went eerie as they launched into football, with a Colombian (apparently, a quiet lad) jokingly telling my cellmate that his country, Dominican Republic is not a football nation. My cellmate, who is hot tampered didn’t take it lightly with the lad; launched into serious brawl with the lad. The lad havind two 20lbs dumbbells in his hands, ‘must have’ hit him with the dumbbells and that took everything to a different level as another Dominican young lad came to the rescue of his compatriot (my cellmate), I had to jumped in to save the day; while most inmates around wanted the fight, which would have been very bloody or deadly as metals laying around would have been used.

I literally held my cellmate in a wrestling lock for more than 30mins, trying to restrain him as he wanted to go back to the lad. Others stood idly waiting for more action, some were calling out to me to let go of him. And I didn’t let go of him until peace was restored, we had to round up with our workout for the day; asked the lads to put the weights in, glad my kettlebell wasn’t there as it would been the weapon of choice.

It’s a pity gone are the days men will go on one another with bare hands, most prisoners are busy each day fashioning weapons of warfare as there’s not strength or no mojo as men for physical brawl. After all said and done; second fight that my cellmate is involved so far since he came back for a second stint in the slammer. I guess, he’s partly resented and angry but just don’t know how to channel those angst into something positive; anny little upset easily set him off, like a sleeping volcano waiting to erupt. But his eruption is always at the wrong time and against the wrong people as the two people he’s been in brawls with are also latinos and fully armed if the needs arises.

Well, as always, the talk of the day is focused on him; with nothing of importance to discuss, the pavilion is divided into to two camps. A faction heard his side of the story and others heard the other’s, and the conclusion I tend to get from everyone; that my cellmate should let it slide. But he’s been very defiant; insisting he will attack the lad with dumbbells as the lad did, but looking at everything, the lad didn’t mean to hit him as there’s no physical injuries, and from what I heard, he threw the first punch. Thus, he should accept it as bygone and let life go on!

I hope that will be the case; bygone be bygone and life goes on!

Do 23 Apr. 2015

Rain has finally come, but then, it’s messing with our electricity, and it does it mostly at night; which sends mosquitoes everywhere. Our in-house technicians are working round the clock to keep us alight ๐Ÿ˜‰

As I didn’t train yesterday; went to school! Woke up early with plans to hit outside for a quick cardio session. The new cop who took over yesterday wouldn’t allow anyone outside, so, decided to do my thing in the gym hall; which was a bit full.

After good stretches and bodyweight routines, went on for a good full arm blast; #Biceps #Triceps and rounded up with sessions of Olympic lifts and abs. Tried to use my time,n refraining from chitchat ๐Ÿ™‚

While in the gym, Dr. Porter was called out; well dressed as he left with his medical appliances. Upon asking him, if he’s leaving, he answered; that he’s on his way to the hospital for scan and check up. Lately, he’s been very ill, barely talk and as words are going around; they say the cancer is spreading through his body. Whatever the outcome of his hospital visit will be, I pray it goes easy with him as he beat the odds of surviving cancer when he was hauled in here. He was given just six months to live, despite the inhumane and deplorable condition here; he made it through two years. I believe it’s the will and inner strength to survive which many off us possess that kept him through the harsh conditions here.

Several talks in the gym about him as he walked out, it actually killed my mood; had to round up my workout and called it a day ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Doc, has been of great help here; few lads would have kicked the bucket, but his swift response and assistance saved their lives.

Prison being a sort of crossroads brings all sorts of people together, irrespective of their class, race, wealth or position in the society. And it’s in prison that men become equal, though some still craves for and create the hierarchical world they had known (#PrisonGangs)! Others, through their wealth buy position and place themselves higher than others who are willing to seek favours #Patrons #Boss #KingPin. But at the end, we are hauled in and lockup together and probably forgotten as the case is in panama. Thus, it’s in prison that all men are truly equal in the eyes of the law; we are all friggin scumbags of the society. Period!

One thing I pray, I hope it goes well with Doc; cancer as we’ve come to understand comes with so many tricks and can be very evasive. How long he has to live, we don’t know, but some lads saying, he hasn’t gotten much time left! Will be following whatever I can get online from different media in Canada as they tend to be very obsessed with his news.

Such is life in prison; one moment, you think someone cares about you, and the next second, you become one of the forgotten. It doesn’t take rocket science to figure it out that everyman is on his own when it comes to survival. And that struggle to survive is more seen within the high concrete walls of prisons where men are left in the wild to fight and survive whatever comes their way.

Repetition and predictability, they say are the roots of boredom and prisoners locked up for years, who go through the same monotonous tasks every day-to-day are at the mercy of total breakdown; mentally and physically!

I have learned to break out of the vicious circle of monotony, by waking up to each day with a different mindset; made my workout unpredictable, unlike most lads doing same thing every day. Also make sure my diet isnโ€™t build around what the prison offers, but on healthy stuffs I can put together. Keep myself busy with books, music and internet. It’s survival mode always.

The prison experience is one that comes with changes on the inside and outside of all who survives it. The change process can be bitter, but at the end it has its benefits if one is willing to learn through the process.

Don’t fear change. You may lose something good, but you may also gain something great.

Construir castillos caros no es la respuesta: James Cavallaro, Marรญa Luisa Romero y Clara Long

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama on May 24, 2015 by doingtimeabroad

Construir castillos caros no es la respuesta: James Cavallaro, Marรญa Luisa Romero y Clara Long.