On 6 December 2004, after 20 months and 18 days in prison, often in solitary confinement, Olivera was released on health grounds. He had lost 30 pounds and was suffering from high blood pressure and serious infections. His release was conditional and he was threatened with re-arrest if he resumed his political journalism.
Since 2004, Olivera has therefore focused on writing poetry and short stories. His prison poetry, including 37 poems on love and politics, was published by the Independent Libraries Project in 2005. In 2006, his poems were included in the Italian anthology Verses Behind Bars and, in 2008, Czech PEN published a bilingual version of his collection of poems, En cuerpo y alma (Body and soul). In February 2007, a collection of his short stories was published in Spain, including ten stories based on his prison experiences. His journalism has been published in newspapers in Sweden, Argentina, the United States and the Czech Republic.
Olivera lives in Havana with his wife Nancy, where he continues to write.
You will be – for ever more – safe
from gloomy reflections
from voices from beyond the grave
from the threads that support the mask
From ‘Emergency Exit’ by Jorge Olivera Castillo. Translated by Cat Lucas
Jorge Olivera Castillo is one of the 50 symbolic cases chosen for inclusion in ‘Beyond Bars: 50 Years of the PEN Writers in Prison Committee’, a special issue of Index on Censorship (issue 04/2010) produced in partnership with English PEN to mark the 50th anniversary of the WiPC (pp 188-189).
Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/writersinprison/writersinexile/jorgeoliveracastillo/