Against All Hope (Paperback)
by Armando Valladares
"Against All Hope" is Armando Valladares' account of over 20 years in Fidel Castro's tropical gulag. Arrested in 1960 for being philosophically and religiously opposed to communism, Valladares was not released until 1982, by which time he had become one of the world's most celebrated prisoners of conscience.
The Cuban revolution and the day that Fidel Castro took over kindled one of the most shocking episodes in history. Upon Castro's ascension to power in 1959, all opponents of his regime were rounded up and put into prisons around the island to be either executed or to be kept alive under brutal conditions.
The book begins with Valladares’ arrest, written in concise, breathtaking prose. The suspense that begins in the first chapters runs throughout the book as Valladares describes his detention and all the horrors that took place in the next 22 years.
During those years, he was kept at several locations – La Cabaña, Isla de Pinos and Boniato Prisons (the pride of Castro's security mob, thus the most terrible). It is uncanny that any human could survive the conditions there. Trapped for years at the infamous Isla de Pinos prison (from whose windows he watched the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion), Valladares suffered endless days of violence, putrid food, squalid living conditions, solitary confinement and hazardous escape attempts, while listening to Castro's firing squads eliminating "counter-revolutionaries" in the courtyard below his cell. But his story is not just a list of horrors. It is ultimately a tale of how a man’s deep Christian faith helped him to survive evil treatment without losing hope.
Valladares survived by prayer and by writing poetry that was smuggled out to Europe. The publication of his poetry in Europe and the efforts of his fiancée Martha brought his case to the attention of international figures. French President Francois Mitterand as well as human rights organizations put constant pressure on the Castro regime that finally led to his release.
- Paperback: 423 pages
- Publisher: Encounter Books (April 25, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1893554198
- ISBN-13: 978-1893554191
- Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6 x 1.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
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