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                            GABRIEL GONZALEZ  
                    Texas Death Row

 Gabriel Speaks

A Thief A King and A Horse - A Note From Gabriel


Live From Death Row!

I am alive in this place of the soul-dead and forgotten.
This is my seventh year  (2004) on Death Row and my tenth year of incarceration .
However, I am no  lesser a man for having shouldered such a hard life for so long. I came to prison as a volatile youth. Since than
Ive grown into the man my mother tried but could not raise. I am a man reared on lifes hard experiences, on books and prison knowledge ; on pepper gas and protest. On Solitude. On Tears.

There lies in me the basic human need and desire to share who i am and what Ive experienced in life with other people. That is the motivation behind me placing this ad. I miss the confraternity of friendship. Have you ever wanted to express a feeling to someone in hopes that they would understand or at least appreciate the depth of how you felt? If I am seeking something in particular, it is a real person I can feel, and who, in turn, tries to feel me.

I am a Cuban man, a father of 3 children that I love with my entire being, a Poet and an Arti st. My favorite pass times are reading, writing my kids and playing chess. My least favorite is working out, but I do so, religiously. Fighting to live is my main priority. Im open to speak about my case if youre intrested in knowing or assisting. Yet, this ad is meant to ask for no more from you than an opportunity at friendship.

Thanks for your time.

Gabriel Gonzalez # 999225

Polunsky Unit D.R

3872 FM 350 South

Livingston Texas 77351 USA


                 Gabriel Writes About Life On Texas Death Row :

By: Gabriel Gonzalez

    Time and time again, I have been asked the question: “What is death row like?” But truthfully, no matter what I say I can’t paint the image od death, rage, anger, love, sadness, and hope together all iun the same breath. The only thing that death row reminds me of is simply life itself, but with unbearable pain amplified to a towering level where its depths may never be known. However, to say life isn’t painful would be an unconscious statement, so how and where do I begin?
    For many years now I have been living with this thought, forever alone with the idea of death whispering sweet nothings in my ear. As I lay down to sleeo each night and when I awake, I only realize with more certainty than the previous day that, if there was a hell, it could no means get any worse than this—Death Row. Like the flames of hell lick at one’s soul, the coals of death row burn with a constant battle between a thirst for life and a thirst to quickly see it pass you by.
    Once upon a time the years seemed like decades ago rather than one coming decade alone. I was a man like any other’ Young, innocent, and hungry for adventures. I had as many dreams as there were minutes, but before my eyelids could blink twice, like the Phantom of the Opera, I had disappeared momentarily somewhere in a place that was similar to purgatory.
    I am still a young man, but with all the innocence gone, dreams fleeting in the wind, and my once adventurous mind now fixated on one idea. I am held hostage, my body trapped in a steel cahe, and my brain searching for abounding knowledge that seems surely to lead me down a path of insanity. Try as I will, I separate myself from the madness around me that reeks with sick twisted souls, innocence trapped in a living nightmare, and life itself being taken as fast as a river falling off an endless cliff.
    At the deepest point in my eager search for understanding of complete chaos, I am disturbed; Count time—get your ass up and stand at the door with your ID’s up in hand!” a guard yelled down the run. And as soon as he approached my cahe and asked for my number, I looked blindly as if he wasn’t there at all. “Inmate! Your number!” the guard yelled again. He stood silent for a moment as I looked at him, and I responded, “I don’t have a number but I’ll give you my name,” I said rather coldly. This time neither the heavy tread of his boots moved forward or anything, but instead he asked me, “Are you okay?” Seeing his uncertainty at that moment, I shook my head and he continued his count.
    Like a haunting ghost that roams the halls of the dead is just how I perceived that guard as he left. Other prisoners responded rapidly to a number in place of their names, and the thought sickens me to think my life has become merely a number to the system—nothing more. We are caught in its lifeless grips like that of a corpse being driven into a nonsexist state, but I refuse to succumb. So if separating myself from my environment means to live in the consant state of anger, so be it. I have seen blood silently run from cages next door to me because a human being was put in these inhumane conditions and could not deal with his isolation and humanity. His sukence was too loud and he killed himself. I have seen prisoners viciously beaten damn near to death by prison guards for simply standing for his dignity as what he is; A HUMAN BEING! I have heard the screams and cries of ones insanities locked in these cages like animals 23 hours a day. And as I sit here at my desk where I am writing right now, I realize that this is a world none of us were meant to live in.
    Often I have been jolted awake, chased by thoughts that are not who I am as a person, so I am consciously awake in the reality of my surroundings—hell. If anything in the world can be hell, I believe it is man’s creations in many forms. For death row prisoners, the system traps an emotion that never escapes and that emotion is hopelessness, which eventually compounds other emotions together which can only destroy people. The most common result is to exact vengeance. So not only does this feeling become genuine, society teaches it as a whole when they use it to punish. And like a great man once said: “Vengeance should only come from an individual, if ever any punishment left in God’s hands altogether.” However, society is poised between the two, and it is amplified here on death row. Prisoners forget who has confined them here, and for whatever reasons, they focus that newly found aggression at each other.
    I believe in God and I pray for the answers every day to make the right decisions, but I often fall from the graces of God because of my thoughts, if not my actions that paralyze my heart from its natural beat. Those who judge us claim that the death penalty is necessary, because life in prison won’t suffice. When any man or woman enters these begging halls of redemption, what can possibly be left except bitterness and anger? We are treated like savage beast that are soon to be slaughtered by public opinion, if nothing more, and then executed.
    In truth, society is paranoid with each other, and it shows in all aspects of prison, not just death row. Our lawgivers speak of philanthropy, progress, humanity, justice, and claim it all in the name of God! How it sickens me to hear such things, to support such things, and to accept it like that of a faithful dog. I WILL NOT!
    Bending his ear to the words of the devil is where we’ll find our politicians—who do nothing in the name of God, but instead for self gain and profit while at the same time trying to abolish God from the law of the land, and even this world. So if you wonder how such places death row are created, look there and you will find the creator of hell. Some of us fight to remain who we are, and in the process grow into the best people we can possibly be, but we can only hope it isn’t all for nothing.
    Moreover, let it be clearly understood that many men here are sick by nature. They have done things which are sick, detestable, and immoral. Actually, I speak of myself because I am considered one of these men. I, just like many others confess not to be any of these things. I consider myself to be a man of many principals, visions, and seek my actions to be righteous in all that I do, yet is there a place for such a man on death row—I FEAR NOT. Death row is no place for any man to remain caged like some animal and totally isolated in a permanent solitary. In the racist South, the name of the victim has a Black face and can easily be found dead hanging from a dirty white sheet in some backwater town. Although race does play a larger role in the death penalty than people would like to believe, as well as class, people of all color are added to the long list of those waiting to become victims by various states’ state-sanctioned murder: Execution!
    The tales of life are no different than death row, maybe those condemned to die on death row obviously are more deserving of detestation, but its increased barbarity only reinstates the code of justice by bloodshed. So if I am repeatedly asked, “What is death row like?” I can only say it is the part of the world we live in, without the joy. It is everything all together in an explosion—complete chaos.
    As I will always try to separate myself from the chaos, sadly, I must understand it and feel it in order to survive its rugged course. This is not by choice, but in order to survive the grips of hell itself, I have to cut through the steel bars with my mind and heart in order to become the free man I am fighting to become. I live the life I was given, but I try not to accept my fate and let this world live in my mind. So, if I am to escape it all, I live if the brinks of insanity.             

"Greetings, Salutations, and Happy Holidays to All,
It is my sincerest hope and wishes that by the time this letter reaches your hands there, it finds you, as well your families and friends all in the very best of health and spirit. And it is my prayer that despite the adversities we all face in this situation (the Death Penalty in its entirety), it finds you all ever-rising in this stage of life. Afterall, adversity is the ladder to growth, and growth are the steps to wisdom. May we all attain it.  My name is Gabriel Gonzalez. None of you there personally know me, although I have received birthday and holiday cards from you all throughout the years, and I thank you for them. I perceive each card and letter as a blessing. Words to me, are a very powerful thing; wordsare the vibrations of intentions from one heart to another
/ others.  And I have come to understand in living life under such adverse circumstances that intentions are everything because they are the very force of manifestation in everything..... So each card received, each letter received, each prayer spoken, each hope, each wish made (whether in thought or verbally) is embraced this way as vibrations of intentions sent for continued strength, for love, for upliftment of the spirit, for freedom, justice, human rights, and eventually the abolishment of the death penalty and much more. So each card and letter makes a difference.... And we here are grateful.
It is saddening that you all are having to hear from me under such a predicament. However, knowing that those of you at the Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty stand in solidarity with the death row community, who better to turn to than comrades of the same struggle.  At the moment I am caged on B-Pod, F-Section. I have been on this pod since November of 2003. I was caged on A section up until about mid-July when I was moved over here to F Section. Since I have been on this section there has been problems with the hot water in the shower. I, and quite a few others on F section have addressed it, have had guards file maintenance reports to have it fixed, have been told by several ranks that it will be looked at and fixed. Here it is 6 months--nothing has been done about it.  It is now winter time and they have not turned on the heat on this pod--it is cold in here. Many of us on F Section have gotten fed up with the cold showers and have been refusing to take cold showers. F Section and E Section are the only 2 sections with no hot water for the shower. E Section has also been refusing to get in those cold showers.  So the guards have been taking us to other sections with hot water to shower. However, on 12/6/04 on second shift, the officers working the pod were being lazy (as always), and because they did not want to walk around to the other sections (which they felt was too far from F Section -- that is ridiculous!), they began writing "VR" down on their shower sheets, which means a prisoner "verbally refused"--which none of us did-- and did not allow some of us to shower. Others did not want their showers taken by the guards so they went ahead and took a cold shower. That is a health risk in this kind of weather. They have no heat at the moment, or should I say, they have not yet turned on the heat, and it is very cold (so much so that I wear my state-issued jacket in my cage all day, and sleep with it on), and for them to force us into taking cold showers and being in this cold is the perfect combination for pneumonia. And for the joke of a medical department they have here, it is too easy to get sick and die in one of these cages from lack of medical care and treatment.
On 12/06/04 a prisoner on F Section, 2 Row came out and was going into the cold shower. However, because the guard (officer Pope is his name) was upset that those of us refusing to take a cold shower were requesting to speak to rank to come to a solution concerning the problem, as the prisoner stepped into the shower (still handcuffed) one of his shower slides came off. As he stopped to try and slip it back on his foot, the guard Pope slammed him on the floor. The prisoner was not resisting anything! The prisoner did nothing wrong. However, because the guard was mad at those who did not want to take cold showers, he took it out on this prisoner. Fortunately, the female guard working with the guard Pope told rank the truth when they arrived on the pod. The prisoner was not sent to F Pod for assault -- he did nothing wring. Officer Pope was however taken off of the pod that night for unnecessary use of force.
Here it is two days later (12/08/04, and they have him working right back over here on B Pod with this shower problem still going on.
Tonight, nothing happened, and everyone has been showered. Sgt. Cannady came and told us that one of the hot water heaters are broken on this pod, and they have an order in for the new one. He also said that since E and F sections are the only ones not getting hot water, we will be showered on 2nd shift after all other sections have been showered. That way the water the other sections take up will come to E and F sections so we will have hot water. Obviously there are supposed to be 2 hot water heaters per pod (1 for every three sections or something) -- I am not completely certain on that, and the authorities seem to not want to give that information. Non the less, tonight some prisoners did shower on this section (I being one of them just to see if the hot water would work on F Section since the other sections had been showered and supposedly that meant the hot water would circulate to E and F Section so we could shower in hot water). The hot water still does not work on E and F Section. None of us have gotten violent, nor do I intend to.
Non-Violence is my way. However, I will continue to refuse going to a cold shower until they get the hot water fixed on E and F Section. So when I
do come out of my cage handcuffed and squat down, or rather sit on the floor to show resistance in a non-violent manner, it does not necessarily
mean the guards escorting me will not try to pick me back up and slam me and beat me and take me to F Pod. I am not looking for any trouble.
However, I will not let the authorities here continue forcing me to take cold showers when I am entitled to a hot one, and risk my health and get sick. I and others have addressed rank from Captains on down, have filed grievances, etc. We are getting a bunch of good excuses, but no results, and though tonight they took some of us to other sections to get a hot shower, I know once again in the next few days one of these guards will cause trouble again trying to get us to take cold showers.
I could refuse, others could verbally refuse our showers, but then what? We don't get a shower, which is exactly what the guards want simply because they do not want to do their job and shower us to begin with -- they are lazy! If we do that, they will intentionally let the shower stay broken to keep us refusing just so that won't have to do the showers. That is unsanitary. I am a clean human being. I need my showers, and so to the rest. This is why I will continue to come out of my cell for shower and tell the guards escorting me to take me to a section with hot water. If they refuse, I will sit down and request to speak to rank to address the issue once again. However, eventually the retaliation will come for my non-violent resistance. There are others doing the same.
Of course, we know this system cares nothing about one's Human Rights-- And unquestioned and unsupervised power makes many men abuse their
authority. I take it that because nobody from the outside is calling down here and putting the pressure on the administration to get theseshowers fixed and the heat turned on, they feel they can do as they wish. Some my accept it. However I, and others, will not. It would be greatly appreciated if those of you there at the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty would bombard them with phone calls, e-mails, letters, and let them know you are aware of the situation and will do the necessary to ensure things are handled properly. I and others here have done what we can, and have been patient..
However, some things are unacceptable as a human being with dignity and self love and respect. I am trying to avoid trouble. Maybe you all there can play an integral part on this in attempt to try to avoid any further confrontations that could end in a prisoner being retaliated against by prison guards simply because we are requesting what policy says is due to us as a prisoner on Texas Death Row.
On that note I will close this letter in hopes that I hear from someone there and that we get some assistance in the matter that is beginning to
get quite ugly -- and can end quite fatal with the sadistic mentality of a lot of these prison guards in here. You all take care. Have a great and safe Holiday season! Best Wishes and Bright Blessings to all.   Peace and Solidarity  
 Gabriel Gonzales #999225 Polunsky Unit  3872 FM 350 South Livingston, TX 77351

Murder. That seems to be the centrepiece my life revolves around. Death Row is my confinement.   I am confined to a 6 by 10 corner of this slaughterhouse forced to witness the torturous prelude to executions of the people around me. I am here, sentenced to die. But that is not simplistic and swift as it may sound. The thought of death, the constant flow of death alone with the monotonous lifestyle of Death Row combines for a lethal dose of daily mental and emotional deterioration.  
I am dying in part every day. Actually I fare well by comparaison to some men. Maybe it is that I am still young and considerably stubborn. Or maybe it is the fear that runs through me when I witness men slowly slip into different stages of dementia. I can honestly say I do not fear dying, but I do fear losing all sense of myself as a human being. When a man mops his cell down with feces or urinates on the floor as if to mark his territory like an animal, his human self is no longer intact. Furthermore, he is no longer a part of society - not even prison society. He is merely subsisting on the peripheral edge of everyone elses consciences. In other words, no one gives a damn about him. It is the indiscriminate rapisity in which this craziness strikes that I fear most
The building Death Row prisoners are housed in is seemingly designed to drive one out of their minds. It is as if the prison administrators are driving men insane so that they match the sensationalized death row image that precedes them. I assume it is easier to kill a man thought to be crazy over one who is still coherent and desperate for living. I do not know. But that appears to be the theme around here.
There are no televisions nor craft programs. There is no work program and prisoners are locked in their cages 23 hours each Day. From the moment they come here until the day they are wheeled out: Visitation, mail, recreation, showers are the only exceptions. Recreation consists of one hour alone in a cage slightly larger than the one I live in. Every day living here is a constant struggle to maintain the desire to live. Many men are eager to go don to the executioner. Their constitution has been murdered. Their strength has been murdered. Their desire for living has been murdered.
What is there left to sustain life? That is a question I hope I never have to ask myself.
For now, I know I have much to live for. But sometimes, the constant killing of the men around me makes all that I have in life seem mediocre compared to all that I have to live with.

Gabriel Gonzalez#999225  Polunsky Unit  3872 FM 350 South Livingston  TX. 77351



                                                    Thanks to :  for this interview.
                                                                                 Reproduced here to be part of Gabriel's archive :


By: Hasan Shakur

The following is an interview that I did with a brother down here on death row. I really hope that you enjoy it because thos brother - Gabriel Gonzalez - is touching on some very serious issues. I also hope that this interview sheds like wise light into this young man's mind, and feel free to contact him as well. You will find his address at the end of the page. Let me get off into this, dinner is served......

Hasan: Man, I’m glad to finally get this interview done! Been a long time coming! Why don’t you introduce yourself to the people and tell them how long you have been down here….
Gabriel: Hey, what’s up Hasan? How are you bruh? Yeah, it’s good to finally get this interview going. Well Hasan, you already know me, but for those who don’t – my name is Gabriel Gonzalez. I’ve been on Death Row for 7 1/” years. Strange thought! The struggles I have endured being here in this purgatory at times make me feel like I have been here for 70 years. In contrast, staring death in the face in such a unique way, at times makes me feel like I just got here. When you finally become aware that every moment is being counted and you are engaged like this, it seems like time flashes by you at the speed of light.
  Hasan: You are not originally from Texas, correct? How long have you been down here?
Gabriel: No, I’m not from Texas. I am originally from California, but I have been in Texas for 14 years.
Hasan: You were over on Ellis Unit with us (formerly housed death row prisoners), in comparison, how does Polunsky unit compare to Ellis unit?
Gabriel: Man, in my years on death row I have seen constant acts of violence that have become as routine as breathing. Suicides, depression, gassings to the point of suffocation, beatings by guards where physical damage is permanent and sometimes fatal, and unbearable pain levels one can’t even begin to imagine….Sometimes I refuse to think about what goes on here on Polunsky unit in an attempt to maintain my sanity, and above all, hope. Hope is all we have to get us through the day. Hope acts as an assurance that a better tomorrow lies ahead. Once hope is gone….all life is gone. When I think back on the years at Ellis unit, the same problems happened there as they do here. But at Ellis unit, the men were able to work, recreate and interact with one another, watch television, walk without shackles and dream; all in a controlled environment. All these things showed signs of life. Since being transferred to Polunsky unit, we are isolate 23 hours per day (allowed to recreate 1 hour in a small cage the size of a very small living room), no physical contact not even for visits, random and unnecessary strip searches where guards mock and ridicule, no television to keep up with current world events, no personal property other than a few books and a few other items, no education system (as most prisoners have little or no formal education), no work programs, no religious programs, small food rations (often spoiled and under-cooked), cell temperatures that are freezing in the winter and scorching in the summer, lack of medical attention for those who really need it (resulting in deaths of those who desperately need it), and countless inhumane and sub-human conditions. With that said, I think that speaks for itself – don’t you agree? Both places are bad, but this one is much worse!

Hasan: You have been paying attention to the plight of several people down here. How do you feel the current political climate will affect prisoners as a whole?
Gabriel: man, this struggle has been going on since before we were born. Many have been fighting for a long time from both inside and outside of these concrete walls. Had all that fighting not been going on all these years, despite how bad things are at the moment, they would have been even worse. So the fighting is making a gradual difference. As for how the political climate will affect prisoners as a whole? Man, everything we see going on right now today, and what we have been seeing for centuries is based on politics and the political climate. That is pretty blatant. In my opinion, I feel the question should have been, due to how the political climate has been affecting prisoners as a whole, what can we keep doing to try and stop this injustice for prisoners as a whole? You look at the conditions here and what is going on behind these walls. Politicians don’t give a fuck! With prison being one of America’s biggest incomes, it seems the government is set on wanting to criminalize the world to lock us down for a profit. To them it’s politics (business as usual). What’s really happening here concerning the political climate and how it does/will affect prisoners as a whole is the take-over by corporate interests of the legal structures that govern our lives.
The government of the Congress and the state governments and let’s say school boards: these are the institutions that have a lot of effect on poor Black, Latino, and all kind of different people of color, as well as middle-class people of color. I bring up people of color because that is the majority of the population in prisons and death row. Anyway, they are the public agencies, you know, like the health, education, and welfare, or some type of public housing set up by the government, or courts set up by the government. These are the kinds of institutions that are public institutions supposed to operate for the welfare of the people, but Congress and the budgets and the tax system, it’s all really serving major corporate interests, largely because of major corporations finance much of the legislative discussion.
For example, right after the World Trade Center bombing, there was discussion in Congress about who should be bailed out, and who should get economic stimulus. And they were all major corporations! Massive benefits to airline companies, not massive benefits to the people out of work by airline companies, but to the corporate entity. So there’s a bias in favor of concentrated economic power. Why the airline industry? Everybody was messed up by the bombings, let’s say all the restaurants that depended upon people who worked in the World Trade Center, all the offices that were in the World Trade Center, all the shops that were in the World Trade Center, there ere a lot of small businesses there. Did we hear about stimulus packages for them? NO! But I’m saying that’s because they are not plugged in. And they’re not considered politically dominant. There’s a book called “Opposing the System” by Charles Reich, and he talks about corporate power, which he calls economic government, taking over functions of the state, and the state now operates at its behest. But we don’t see it; we still see political government. But he says in a work place in the corporate world, you don’t have a vote, you don’t have any participation, you don’t have any freedom or association, you do what you are told. And so as the corporations become more and more powerful in charge of the government, their hold of dictating what people do becomes what happens in government, and the values of the corporate world become the values that are reflected in government, and so it becomes essentially that the Italians called “the corporate state”. That’s what we’re up against; the corporate state. That’s not accessible or responsive to the people. When you got people like Meryl Lunch and when Enron used to be Enron donating the biggest amounts to Bushes campaigns, and all these companies have billions of dollars invested in the prison industry (profiting off of prisoners free labor and profiting off of each prisoner that comes into the prison system whether in general population or death row) what you are going to get is what we are seeing today on death row, in the general population in prison etc. These corporations are dictating and controlling the politics bro. We are the results of those corporations dictating government and politics. Though it is part racism, it is beyond that: This is about money and profit and power.
So it is not about how the political climate will affect prisoners as a whole. Bro, we are being affected every day due to the political climate. And look who is in the driver’s seat, Bush and his capitalist friends. We just have to keep fighting the best that we can from inside and outside.

Hasan: You know I am a labeled fundamentalist; how do you describe yourself as in the light of your persona?
Gabriel: If you are asking me what is my political affiliation, I don’t have one in the sense of political labels today like left or right. I am not a part of a political party like that. I am simply a spiritual person: A child of God! And I believe spirituality is true politics, and in that sense I am political. I am a person who believes that a strong spiritual conviction, a love of mystery, tolerance, and that part of positive magic that exists hidden in each life, could afford us a less unhappy, less cruel world, full of realizable dreams. Amidst a world rampant with violence and insatiable yearnings for power, I believe that we mustn’t dispense with the fragile child we all carry within, which speaks of lost innocence, which we mustn’t renounce if we want to understand something of what we are and why we live. We are all in some way orphans of our dreams for the fairer society we fought and paid for in flesh. I am now convinced that it’s not the great ideologies that will change the world. Many of them have failed and the birth of new and even more dangerous ones remains a threat, such as the new fundamentalisms. I still feel myself to be a political man, but the politics I believe in are about breaking down the walls of cultural conventions that lead to fanaticism. I believe the most important thing, as the Spanish philosopher Savater affirms, is a strong ethical commitment from each one of us, without which future society will be ever more fratricidal and ever less fraternal. I am convinced that each person my t now make their contribution to society, because of that I believe strongly in the new wave of solidarity that is growing around the world, especially among young people.
As I told you before, I consider myself a political man, but not a party man. I think that my interaction with people is political, because I help people realize many things with my own personal experiences, with the awakening of the spiritual side, the need to tear up the official Manual of Good Conduct and pay the price for their dreams. As well as alerting people to all kinds of fanaticism, to those who try to take over the role of other’s consciences, to the false culture of knowledge and to the hypocrisy of certain politicians who, instead of serving the citizens, are self-serving using citizens to satisfy their own personal whims. Fe me, one way of participating in politics is by repeating in every possible way that it necessary to live life with enthusiasm, that each of us is responsible for our own fate and can’t delegate it to anyone, that a writer, activist or whoever etc. is no more important to the world than someone who sells coconuts, or a policeman who patrols the streets, although he may erroneously feel himself to be more important than anybody. For me, politics is contributing to changing what I call the “Academy”, that is fossilized, bureaucratic, conventional wisdom that thinks itself the only repository of knowledge. The power of the privileged. We have to go back to giving free rein to creativity, giving the common man a voice, considering that there shouldn’t be an educated elite who think they’re privileged with titles and honors to impose their cultures on the rest. In this sense, I believe the Internet can help substantially. It’s an instrument that, despite all the dangers it brings with it, can contribute to everyone having the possibility of getting their voice heard. If the powerful do not destroy the internet by taking control of it, I think it could become a formidable forum for universal debate, where no one feels excluded. I believe it could create a sane anarchy, that can’t be controlled by those who hold power. But maybe that’s just another utopia I want to believe in. Now don’t misunderstand me, this doesn’t mean that because I’m not a political party man that I am neutral. I always give my stand and opinion on a situation. You can’t be politically neutral because otherwise you are letting others decide about your life and interests. You have to participate actively. But I’m not a professional politician, nor an expert in political philosophy.
On another note; based on politics in the last century there have been too many wars and blood spilt. We are faced with the end of civilization. And we’re not able to sense what the one now being born will be like. It’s difficult to predict the future. What I can tell you is that it all depends on what happens in the next fifty years. They have marked the new millennium. A lot depends on whether people decide to set out on a serious, solid spiritual quest. It’s been said, that either this century will be spiritual or it won’t. Others say it will be the feminine century. On the contrary, the danger exists that the bomb of fundamentalism could explode. Paradoxically, to my understanding, fundamentalism implies a lack of faith. My antidote to the new wave of fundamentalism that is beginning to surround us? This might sound banal, but it’s necessary to understand that our spiritual path must be a search for individual responsibility, not delegating it to masters of captains. It is necessary to increase the values of tolerance, the idea that there is space for everyone in every sector – in religion, politics, and culture. No one should impose their world-view. As Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” There’s no reason we should all have to live on the same floor with the same ideas. Wealth lies in plurality, in diversity. The rest is fascism. With fundamentalism we would return to the deepest of the worst of the obscurantism of the past. What has to be said is that one can be atheist or Muslim or Catholic or Buddhist or agnostic and it doesn’t matter. Each person is responsible for their own conscience. The opposite irremediably leads to war, because it conceives of someone different as an enemy.
In closing this answer I want to say two things: I worry about the idea of economic globalization being carried over to the globalization of God. In the same way that the idea of a homogeneous culture made to everyone’s measure horrifies me, I’m frightened of the idea of a standard God, dogmatically valid for everyone, as opposed to the personal, to what can be discovered by the color of the conscious of each human being. Culture and religion have to be the expression of the individual soul. The same community has to be made up of free, original, different people, each with their own spiritual wealth. The greater danger of the global market lies in producing a culture as universal mind-control. From there to a new Nazism, it’s just a small step.
As I said, my politics is spirituality. I consider myself to be like a spiritual warrior of the light, of peace. What is distinctive about the warrior of light? On the personal plane, accepting oneself as a person who cannot be polarized by fears, who struggles against them, carries on in search of their own personal spiritual purpose. On the collective plane, by avoiding all forms of cultural, political or religious fundamentalism, avoiding everything that could be taken as exclusion of others, of those who are different, and by opening oneself enthusiastically to all new experiences: communication among men, co-participation and, if you’ll allow me – although this word is much prostituted – Love.
Hasan: What has been the most dramatic thing that has affected you since you’ve been incarcerated?
Gabriel: Watching my kids suffer so many different changes in their lives without me, and watching them go through so much suffering because of my situation.
Hasan: What are some of the things you are involved in – in a positive nature?
Gabriel: Well, I can’t say that I’m involved in a lot of well-known programs or anything like that. At the moment I’m in the creating stages of my own Newsletter called “E2L”, which means “Educate 2 Liberate!” Aside from that and fighting my case, my focus is the youth. I love children. Hasan, you have known me for some years now, and you know what kind of social injustice I come from: The Ghetto. Sad to say, but I was born and raised in the streets, and in that sense my life has been shocking. I have experienced a lot. I’m grateful though, because I learned a lot. So my concern is youth who are in that same predicament I grew up in. I’m in the beginning stages of a children’s book. I am also in the beginning stages of a book concerning being a parent on death row, the effects, how to try and deal with them, and how to best try to stay bonded with your children. You and I both know how difficult that can be because we have been through much concerning that and have discussed in depth our deep pains in dealing with that.
Hasan: You were housed on one of the most restrictive wings on Ellis unit. Compare the attitudes of the prisoners there and the prisoners now that you encounter?
Gabriel: As a result of being transferred to this permanent solitary and total isolation, most men here are now suffering from “Sensory Deprivation.” What is Sensory Deprivation? Sensory Deprivation is the break down and loss of ones senses (touch, taste, hearing, sight and smell). When the body receives no stimulation (not even something as simple as a handshake), the need of mental and physical balance is non-existent. When the mind becomes overwhelmed, a deep depression sets in, resulting in the inability to control moods. I am not a psychiatrist and cannot list all the effects this is having on the men here, but I can tell you from experience that what is going on here is altering the minds of men; literally killing them long before the executioner physically murders them.
Hasan: What is your daily routine?
Gabriel: I can’t say I just have a daily routine that is continuously repetitive. My routine differs based on what happens when I wake up. How I feel, what I’m thinking about. But for the most part I like to wake up, wash up, clean my cage, and sit here, or pace my cage for an hour or two and just kind of set my attitude for the day realizing that my attitude for the day will be based on how I choose to perceive that day. So I try to always set a good attitude. I mediate for a little while, go to recreation for one hour (and you gotta watch your minute because the guards are quick to try and wrack you up 10 to 15 minutes early). Come in, shower and study for a while. Then I’ll write my kids and a few friends. My cage is situated right in front of the dayroom, so often I am interrupted from my routine by a prisoner wanting to talk, or just from something feeling down. I come to my cage door and try to talk with them and encourage and inspire them, because as men of humanity we are responsible for our community no matter where we are. Divinely I have a responsibility to humanity, and part of it is encouraging and inspiring. So when I see somebody down I try to life their spirits and make them recognize despite the madness we’ve got to keep keeping on bruh. Believe it or not this makes me feel good, to be able to do this because it keeps me in touch with my humanity – something this system seems determined to want to steal from me. But it’s in staying in tune with my humanity that keeps me determined. I also have conversations with other brothers in here, like yourself, on how we can continue to organize, unite, rise and combat the establishment, which always keeps me motivated on trying something. Bruh, the days around here can get to be so much of the same that one day runs into the next in a way where it all just seems like one whole day in the spend of years bruh. I try to stay free of that.
Hasan: You have kids, correct? How do you explain to them your situation, and how hard is it to do so?
Gabriel: Man bruh, my oldest just turned 14, my middle daughter is 13 now, and my son is 10, he’ll be 11 next month on July 7th. 5 years ago right before they transferred us to over here my oldest daughter was 9. I love my three kids the same, but you always have that one who is closest to you. She is my one, a Daddy’s girl, and I’m proud of that. We have a beautiful bond. She has always been a smart child, advanced in school, teachers wanting to move her up grades etc. – and nosy like all children are (ha, ha, ha!). I’d sent some paper work home to my Queen and she left them laying out and my daughter read the words death row and saw my name on the papers and knew something was up. She asked my Queen if I was on death row, and what is death row? Does it mean her Daddy’s going to die? My queen didn’t know what to say. She brought her to see me and my daughter asked what she wanted to know. I don’t lie to my kids, but up until that day she never knew I was on death row – none of them did. They just knew daddy was in prison for a crime Daddy didn’t commit.
She asked me what death row is and if it means I’m going to die. I had to be real and tell her that could be a possibility. She started crying and I did too. The next words hit me like a mack truck. She said: “Daddy, why did you hid this from me all this time? What if you would have died before I told you everything I need to tell you? What if you would have died before I shared everything I wanted to share with you?” She was hurt and mad at me. With tears in my eyes I told her I felt she wouldn’t understand, and I didn’t know how to tell her I was on death row. I didn’t want to put that strain and worry on her. Bruh, she was so hurt that I’d hidden it all the time that she wasn’t trying to hear it. She wouldn’t even talk to me for the rest of the visit. I was shattered. For 9 whole months she didn’t want to see me. She went from advanced honor role student to failing all of her classes, she had to start going to counseling because she was messed up at knowing about my situation. She wouldn’t eat, she got even skinnier than she already was. She began having nightmares that I was going to die here, and I hate she had them because they would mess her up real bad. But I am grateful for them because they are what made her start wanting to see me and write me again. When I saw her after 9 months, I saw a little woman-child. She had been through so much and endured a lot concerning my situation. I couldn’t believe this was a 9 year old child. She made me make her a promise – that I would never hide anything from her again. I gave her my word on that and I don’t break it.
I fear telling them about my situation, but I do so, even though it is extremely hard. But I want them to know the truth: They have the right to know because I’m their Daddy and they’re my kids. I wouldn’t want mine to lie to me. The scariest part is knowing how sensitive children are, and how knowing something at the wrong time can completely alter their lives in a negative manner. Children are fragile, but too, we can’t underestimate them. They understand a lot and can endure a lot. My kids have been through hell with my situation and they are strong because of it, and the goodness that has come out of it I am grateful for. But I regret they ever had to go through this and suffer all these years. And this is what makes me angry: The system never takes into consideration the vicious cycle that they continue with the death penalty. Someone commits a crime and takes a life. Someone is accused (whether you are guilty or innocent is of no importance to the judicial system). A person is sentenced to death for that crime, which in turn makes his mother and father innocent victims, makes his children and siblings a victim, and victims continue to be made. Children tend to be affected the most. Many don’t know how to deal with their father or mother being in prison, and their anger drives them to live a self-destructive lifestyle that eventually leads them to prison or death row. Feel me bruh? The system never things about these things.
To look only at individual responsibility is to look away from social responsibility. To look only at individual criminality is to close ones eyes to social injustice and to close ones ears to the question or whether our social institutes have exploited or violated the individual. Justice is s two-way street, but criminal justice is a one-way street. Individuals owe obligation to their fellow citizens, because their fellow citizens owe obligations to them. Criminal justice focuses on the first and looks away from the second. Thus, by focusing on individual responsibility of crime, the Criminal justice system literally acquits the existing social order of any charge of Justice. And so the vicious cycle continues…

The following is a continual of a two part interview that was conducted with Gabriel in the January Issue of HRC Tx. – Newsletter (see Volume II – Issue I). The first part was very informative and I think people were able to get a lot of knowledge out of the interview. Well it is time to go a little deeper and shed a little more light on everything around us.

Hasan: What is it and what do you aim to accomplish with it? I mean, I know it is a newsletter, but what is the purpose of it?
Gabriel: E2L stands for: Educate to Liberate. The reason for the 2 in the E2L is because this concept was inspired by a book I read by Huey P. Newton called ‘To Die for The People!’ He shares their 10 point program and one of them was “Each one, reach one, and teach one.” That means to educate for liberation. They each continue to reach one and teach one and now you have 4 educated and striving towards liberation. I like that concept because without that, we don’t stand a chance as a people or a class being stepped on by an oppressive government. So for each person who may read the newsletter, it is education for liberation and they should pass it on for someone to be educated and liberated. The newsletter is pretty universal. My aim is to reach everybody in the African and Latino communities in America. Its education to death row and the death penalty, African and Latino history in America, the social, political and economical and academic inequities we are subjected to, and how we can rise to be self reliant in all those areas, as well as culturally. I am not saying I have all the answers, because I DO NOT. Nonetheless, I see some problems and from my point of view, based on my experiences, I share as well as others what we feel can be done about the problems getting things going with the newsletter, but that should be ironed out soon. 
Hasan: You spoke earlier of ‘your responsibility to humanity.’ What do you do to encourage and inspire humanity inside and outside of the walls?
Gabriel: In this confinement we are restricted so much. In here there is so much work to be done. What I do in here? This isn’t something I really like to talk about. To me, in a way, it’s like patting your own self on the back for your deeds, and I’m not looking for praise from men. Yet, I understand your reason for asking the question. Maybe what I have to share could inspire someone else to do the same or something else – I am always looking to do that simply because I enjoy that.
As you know, I am one who grew up in a run down, poverty stricken neighborhood where gangs, drugs, prostitution and violence were commonplace (The Ghetto). A place where role-models are drug lords and gang members. A place where one develops a false sense of manhood and lives in a perpetual state of fear.
No, we’re not talking about death row just yet! I speak about a sub-division in Pomona, California, and another in San Antonio. These are the places I grew up, and San Antonio is the county that placed me in captivity. 2 years and 10 months later I found myself on Texas death row in a 5 by 9 cage. There I sat, young, unconscious, and with no idea of where I was or where I was going. That was 7 ½ years ago, Hasan. October 14, 2004, I can hold my head up and say to the world, “I have embraced the gates of manhood, and I am no longer that young, unconscious individual whom was sent to death row under truly controversial circumstances.
In this area of my life, there is so much that needs to be shared, and so much that needs to be understood, but that is a story for another time. My point is, I understand what it is like coming here young, from the ghetto, uneducated, unconscious to the governmental conspiracies aimed at trying to make me a failure and lead me to my current situation: Death Row! I eventually became aware. So what I do in here is seeing these young, unconscious individuals who come from the same circumstances, and I reach out to them trying to make them aware of their surroundings, what led them to this reality – all the elements many of us are not aware of politically, socially and economically which subjects us to the injustice system for their brand of Justice. I was involve din the negative, self-destructive aspect of gang life. Where I’m from you are raised into it. It’s not something you just wake up and decide you are going to do. In the Ghetto, it’s a certain way of survival for the hostile surroundings. So almost all get involved, they get involved with the dope selling, and everything else surrounding street life. So I know what goes through these young cats minds. I was selling crack cocaine by the time I was 8, gang active by 9, and so far gone into the gang and drug selling life by the age of 15 that I didn’t know or see any other way, or a way out. I know how it feels to be in that situation and end up here still lost. Though I am no longer involved in any of that madness and negativity, I reach out to those who are, try to awaken them to something better, because many of just weren’t aware that there is something better, that there is another reality aside from the one we were living in the ghetto. So this is something I do in there reaching out to the youngsters. Damn, I said that like I’m old, I’m not old, just 30, but I’m saying, though, I know the pain at being lost and unconscious, so I reach out to ones who come from where I came from and experienced what I did to show them: There’s purpose in life, doing positive things, serving humanity – and it feels good! REAL GOOD! I share with them books that opened my eyes, but books only teach so much. I do better just sharing experiences and what I have learned. That’s what inspires, because many of the youth can feel that a lot better than just reading study books on social, political, judicial, penal etc. re-form!
As for what I do on the outside? Bruh, that’s the purpose of my newsletter – to reach the outside world. So once I get it going, which it’s been a while in the making, I’ll be reaching that outside world, and prison as well because I want it circulating everywhere!
Hasan: Ok, I also recall you speaking on Social Responsibility as well. This is something powerful! I like! Now, how can one command such a responsibility? Also, how does one go about carrying out that responsibility? I mean, how can one even recognize their social responsibility, because some people cannot even recognize it or even know they have it. Enlighten the people…
Gabriel: Bro, you can’t force anyone to recognize their social responsibility. What is the difference in responsibility for humanity and social responsibility? In my opinion, I do not think there is a difference. You are still dealing with human beings, inspiring them and trying to make a better way of life, or change lives for the better.
I do not think you can command social responsibility although we all have it whether we are aware or not. This is why when I reach to ones that may be unconscious, I do not take the route of them having responsibilities. Most of us growing up unconscious like we did, haven’t been responsible with our own selves, and yet I am commanding someone to be responsible for a community etc.?
Nobody made me realize my own. It was only through my own journey, through just wanting to better myself, through spiritual enlightenment and application of that knowledge did I become aware of my divine responsibility to not only myself, but others as well. But it took me helping myself first before I could help anyone else. It was by bettering my own inner state that automatically made me want to better my physical reality and manifest something better, and that made me realize I had a social responsibility to do that.
I perceive life to be all cause-and-effect. For every action there is a reaction. I look at the state of the world today and shake my head in shame. Man is so ignorant that he doesn’t realize he himself is manifesting his own reality. Man didn’t have to manifest Armageddon – we could literally live in an Utopian society. Don’t we know how beautiful a place we could live in? But….the Spirit is tainted – and wounded. Anyhow, the realization is that man fears change, thus our change (elevation) is met with resistance on every level. That is difficult to deal with. So I don’t command social or humanitarian responsibility from anyone. The way I see it is: Change man and you change society. Try to change society without the inner change in man, and confusion will be the sole result.
How can we expect someone still mentally and spiritually in the slums to rise to social responsibility? We can’t. So I strive to inspire them to first rise within themselves mentally and spiritually. First better their inner state of being on all levels. When they do that, automatically they embrace social responsibility, responsibility to Humanity! Because automatically they want their outer reality to reflect their inner state of being.
Hasan: I feel that! Has sensory deprivation affected you? If so, please tell me how?
Gabriel: I am sure the effects are on us all in one form or another; some endure and some don’t. I don’t really know how it has affected me. Maybe I am crazy and just don’t know it (smile). You know how they say when a person is crazy, they don’t even realize it! No Bro., I am just messing with you….sometimes I have my times when I get depressed and feel discouraged. I feel so drained, from sensory depravation that I literally feel like doing nothing at all. Some days it puts me in a foul mood to where I don’t want to be bothered. Some days I feel a destructive rage and anger although I do not act on it. And I feel that way at times because something as simple as not being able to hug you or shake your hand, Hasan. Or because sometimes I’m overwhelmed with a lot and I can’t even go sit somewhere with you in private and tell you what’s going and listen and vibe with you knowing you’d understand, and maybe that’s just what I needed to feel better.
But on the flip side is…….My attitude is something else. My Queen always told me ‘Mi amore (that means ‘My Love’ in Spanish), there is nothing in this world you can’t handle. Nothing can break you unless you choose to let it. You are your biggest limitation…’ It took me becoming a grown man to understand it, but her always telling me nothing can break me that I can handle anything, that is my attitude: That is my truth! Nothing can break me – I can endure anything! So though it’s hell in here, the positive to it is that I am, in a sense, forced to sit down with myself and what I go through and deal with it in a positive manner. In the end I walk away stronger and wiser. So the challenge (not mattering how difficult), keeps me going and ever-rising.
Hasan: What is your take on street organizations and have you been involved yourself?
Gabriel: First of all, who of us can deny the Revolutionary influences on our walks of life? Many don’t know our history, and others deny it, but to deny that Revolutionaries did not influence the formations of street organizations would be like saying Black folks didn’t come from Africa, and Cubans didn’t come from Cuba. You can’t deny the origination. Being that I have been personally involved in a street organization since I was a child, I have first hand knowledge and experience. But as I stated earlier – I am no longer a part of the self-destructive lifestyle of current street organizations! My take on street organizations is that they all began for good reasons and with good causes. I was a CRIP for instance, and what it meant was: Community Revolutionary Independence Party Services! It was formed to protect the black community against racist cops who would come through the neighborhood trying to brutalize and kill black people, to provide for the less fortunate etc. This was back in 69. BLOODS & PIRUS were about the same things, which is why BLOOD means: Brothers Lets Organize Or Destruct! In other words let’s organize and come together against a racist system who wants to brutalize and eradicate us simply for our skin color, or destroy if we don’t come together and organize. PIRU stands for: People In Righteous Unity! These were all beautiful causes, plights towards helping and building the community, as well as protecting the community against racist cops. These organizations were inspired by the Black Panther Party for self-defense. Unfortunately by then they had been wiped out, and these organizations lacked knowledge and being organized. Take into consideration that CIONTELPRO was still in effect trying to destroy all Black and Latino organizations who chose to stand up against racism, social, political and economical inequity etc. They were united. To this day it is not clear as to who exactly caused the division amongst CRIPS, BLOODS and PIRUS. It is suspected that COINTELPRO paid to have a member of one organization killed, and made it look like it was done by another. From there the division began, and from being a United Front everybody started fighting and killing amongst themselves.
In 1972 the CRIPS tried to find its way back to the essence and real cause of its foundation. A new constitution was drawn up for reform, and still things got worse. But that had a lot to do with the government’s doing. Anytime a truce was made and brothers tried to unite and reorganize, the government paid to have someone from one faction killed and make it look like it was done by another that were consolidated. They divided and conquered. And to this day the self-destruction in the Black and Latin communities continues. But, till, there are things being done by the older heads in prison, and some who are still out there in attempts to unite and reform.
I am very much involved in that, trying to educate the ones still living self-destructive lifestyles. One of the elements that plays an integral part in the self-destructive lifestyle is that a lot of these younger ones are not being taught the truth of the factions they are a part of. They are being given these misconceptions about it’s about being Gangstaz, Pimps, Hustlaz and all that, and that totally contradicts the essence of these factions.
These same cats claim to do it all in the name of Love For The Hood! Bruh, how can you love your ‘hood’ when everything you do contradicts that love, everything you do destroys you, and your community, the very same community your children and grandchildren will grow up in? And if we don’t do something to change it, our children and grandchildren will be doing the same things we once did out there in ignorance.
Brotha, I can’t speak for everyone, but I myself, can never see me going back to the self-destructiveness we once lived by. I love and respect myself, my children and my community and my people too much for that. Hasan, you know what’s up bro! You used to bang too, the same thing that I did. I know people around here hear you and me talk about building the community, rising, eradicating the negativity and a lot of those who are still unconscious can’t fathom that, they think that is week – and to each their own. At the same time bro, the reason I am so involved in trying to wake these young brothas and sistas up to the reality is because number 1 – I got love! And 2, we (you, me, and many others) are just as much to blame because we once promoted and glorified the negative lifestyles. Now we’re fighting against stigmas that we once helped create. It’s ironic. We live in a society that helps us oppress ourselves. They help us glorify things that will belittle us, because this is how they stay up and we stay down. If we were ever given a fair chance we’d definitely rise to Power because we are natural cultivators and intellectuals. Our aggressors and oppressors know that. This is why we are constantly bombarded by the drugs, guns, poverty, discrimination, physical resistance, manipulation which breeds division, self-hate, depression, confusion, anger and so on. It’s a mental war tactic. Why mental? Because the mind controls the body. The mind and spirit are one team – it’s like a quarterback and the center. You have to have a center to snap the ball to the quarterback. Without that you can’t even run a play!
What we have come to realize though, is that we are parts of a greater whole. And like I said earlier, we can’t deny the revolutionary influences on our walks of life. Many don’t know our history, and others deny it, but as I said earlier: To deny that revolutionaries did not influence our formations in street organizations is like saying Africans didn’t come from Africa and Cubans didn’t come from Cuba. You can’t deny the origination. Therefore, for us to become revolutionary minded (which is what you, I, and many others have become, and are striving to wake others up to be) would this not be us just coming full circle? Think on that.
What’s revolutionary? Does that mean brothas screaming “Right On”, or “Viva Cuba” and wearing berets and stuff like that? No! That was just a trend of the time. Revolutionary is within not without! Revolutionary is created of three essences, Revolve/Evolve/Evolution. The bottom line is that all 3 of these things deal with motion, moving, changing. This is the essence of it because, if you’re not growing, you are dying. If you aren’t evolving, you are shrinking to stagnant. That’s key brotha. So; revolution is not solely about overthrowing a government, it is about change! In our lifetime revolution has been pointed at governments because…..they got stagnant. So, it was out with the old and in with the new. But, do not let media and propaganda categorize such terms. Look at the depth of the words. Revolution……starts with YOU! For ones like us – the most revolutionary things we can do is define ourselves. If we do not know who we are as Africans, Latinos etc., as human beings, how can we expect to manifest? When we define ourselves this does not mean we limit ourselves – it means we attain something to ourselves for the time. Today I may build cards, but tomorrow I may have to build a garden so we can eat.
Stay out of the box. With all that said, I am very much involved – but not in the negativity. Only positive. I am involved in helping these brothas and sistas to define themselves culturally, spiritually, politically, etc. because when we know who we are, where we come from, and how we got here, we’ll know where we need to be going and how to get there. Educate 2 Liberate bro! That’s my motto!
Hasan: What’s your message to those that wish to get involved?
Gabriel: Well….if I encountered a young brother who was infatuated with the self-destructive aspect, I’ll tell him all those glitters ain’t gold bruh. It’s not fun being on the corner slanging dope to take care of your family. It is not fun having to watch your back everywhere you go, peeping your rearview for rivals, losing homies to the system, to drive by killings, to drug addiction. It is not fun being in a gang war where it is so crazy you have to take a shit with the light off; in the dark with an assault rifle on your lap and you got the light off cause you are afraid your enemy may see your shadow on the window and kill you where you sit – that’s not fun, funny, manly or being real. That is fucked up!
I’ll tell you something that is still very shameful for me even to this day. When my older daughter was 1, one early morning I drove her mother to work, and I was taking my daughter to my mother’s house so she could see her Gramma cause she loves her Gramma, and as I am sitting at a red light I see a Cadillac pull up right behind me. They are rival gang members. They know me and I know them – I was well-known in them streets. I can see them contemplating if they should try and get me. They can’t see my daughter, and my only concern at that moment is her. I was afraid they’d shoot at me with her in the car. Right there I put the car in park, I had a Mac-11 which is a gun that looks like an uzi with a 30-shot clip, I opened the card door, got out with the gun and ran straight at them aiming and letting loose. Nobody was killed. I wasn’t trying to be crazy or stupid. My daughter was in the car, I figured if I got out and did that I would protect her, and if they shot at me I was away from the car by that time. That’s not the point. Point is this is life, life isn’t a game. Whether we realized it or not back then, I put my own child in jeopardy – there is nothing funny about that. To this day I still carry shame at that. You got to be stupid to take risks like that. These are the type of things I would share with these cats who want to join a gang and live self destructive.
The lifestyle ain’t shit. I said that! Meant that! Represent that! I would tell that same person that if he wants to get down with the real, to educate himself to the true essence of what he wants to represent, be whatever party he wants to be a member of. Learn about who he is as an African, Latino, etc. I would tell him to become a part of the positive so that he can help be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem, because if he really has love, then building and preserving it is what that love is all about – not destroying it and future generations that will follow in his/her footsteps. But honestly, you just can’t tell the young brothers and sisters, you gotta be involved in their lives, be an example by action of the thing we speak.
Hasan: Do you think street organizations are the baby’s of the so-called justice system?
Gabriel: Of course, no doubt about that! How do you think heroin, cocaine, crack and all other drugs got into the Black and Latino communities? How did the guns get there? Back in the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s etc. we didn’t have nothing. We sure didn’t have air planes and submarines to fly tons and tons of cocaine into the Black and Latin communities, we didn’t have planes to fly in tons of guns into the Black and Latin communities. The government did that to destroy us, knowing they could make profit from us by free labor from prison. That is why the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that no person will be forced into slavery or free labor unless they have been convicted of a crime! Slavery never died, or got abolished. It simply changed form. Prison became the new form of slavery which is why we know it is nothing but INSTITUTIONALIZED SLAVERY! Why did the government leave that in the constitution? Because they saw their vision for a new way to keep us enslaved. It’s a setup. Flood the ghettos and barrios with guns and drugs, pass laws to make it illegal, let them kill themselves and whoever is left, we’ll put them in our new form of slavery (prison) and make a profit of them. That is why the prison industry is a multi-billion dollar industry now. Who do you think invests in those private prisons? Politicians like Bush, corporations like Meryl Lynch, AT&T, etc. Corporations are dictating politics today. They pay the politicians to have it their way. They pay the politicians, the politicians dictate the prosecutors, judges, and guess who gets fucked? We do!
Hasan: Let’s go into the belly of the beast now, what are some of the problems here on the Polunsky Unit?
Gabriel: Everything is messed up! Total isolation, no physical interaction! No educational system whatsoever. The isolation is causing sensory deprivation which has people falling into deep states of depression and never coming back, causing suicide, causing people to lose control or emotions taking anger out on everybody, taking violent actions against each other and guards as well. The food rations are ridiculous, the food is often spoiled, cold and under-cooked and medical treatment is a complete joke! The showers are never cleaned right, and you have nats flying around in there, people catching foot and skin infections (rash and fungus). The cells are falling apart. When it rains, they leak. And they continue to add more restrictions, such and not being able to have certain books, magazines. You can only have a very small amount of property in you cell. They try to suppress our voice by cutting down on the amount of stamps we can purchase at the prison store. We were once allowed to purchase 50 stamps, plus 50 stamped envelopes. Now we can only purchase 30 stamps every 2 weeks. They did that to try to cut down on our correspondence. You can’t have visits with certain media outlets. And if you have a media interview with a certain media outlet, they will not let you have anymore with that same one. They want to shut us up, treat us like trash and then kill us.
Hasan: How can we as prisoners go about fixing this then?
Gabriel: Bro, we can talk about this all day. First of all, we need to unite and take action. We need to protest non-violently on a collective scale. But we don’t have that kind of unity here. Without that we don’t stand a chance. But we can file lawsuits and write up arguments that activists in the free world can take and file to the courts and legislature.
Hasan: Now I know this is a long interview, seems like we’re interviewing for Oxford or something (smile). But seriously, how can we seek positive change and help end the cycle of incarceration of our young and so-called minority? And by we, I mean us prisoners? One more thing: What advice can you give to the people that come from our background?
Gabriel: Bro, long interview? This isn’t an interview, this is a book! Go ahead and tell everybody how I don’t like doing interviews. Say everybody, this big meat head ass brother had to tie me down to my desk and typewriter and make me do the interview! That’s alright, cause when he lets me up, I’m gonna bite his pintoslantback head ass right on the back of that big meaty ass head he got (smile)! Just look at that big ol’ head he got. Damn I know his shoulders and neck hurts trying to hold all that head up! (smile). Alright bruh, I’ll quit cutting on you. That’s for all them times you cut on me! (smile). It is all love. He didn’t tie me to my desk an typewriter yall, he can’t, cause we’re isolated. And if we weren’t, he’d still have to catch me first! (smile). Let me stop trippin man, can’t be serious all the time. We need to laugh at times because people out there like you all keep your hope strong and alive!
Now to answer your questions: I don’t claim to have all the answers to all of the problems. To stop that ugly cycle, I think there is only so much we can do. We can try to teach our own children how to side-step this situation. We can educate them to who we are as a people, we can write books for children, for grownups too. We can use ourselves as examples on how not to be. Not to say we are negative. We are certainly positive and on the correct path. But we once were, and we can always use our mistakes to teach those out there which is something I often try to do with my kids. But bro, we can only do so much. To avoid incarceration, I think the education has to start in the home: Cultural, political, spiritual, economical, social, etc. education. Your foundation is knowing who you are on all levels, and that starts in the home. That’s where the foundation is laid. That sets the direction in life. Without that it’s like blindfolding your child, spinning them around and just letting their dizziness take them wherever it leads them.
By not educating them on all levels, I feel that’s exactly what we do. Had I grown up in a house where my mother had taught me about my history as an Afro-Cuban on all levels, I would have had that identity as a child. Therefore when I saw these cats on the streets where I grew up, I would have know off the top: “Naw, that’s not me, that’s not my purpose! I come from a line of Revolutionaries who fights injustice, racism, fascism, imperialism, colonialism, capitalism. I know what’s creating the circumstances in my environment – I’ll be part of the solution, not the problem.”
Unfortunately I did not know. So watching my own family in the streets selling dope, banging’ etc., and seeing everybody else I was growing up with doing it, this is what I embraced as being me and us. Why? Because I did not know who I was as an Afro-Cuban, as a human being, and was fed misconceptions about what being real and a man is. But that is part of the set-up! That they don’t have good schools in America that teach African History or Latin History; the truth anyways! They got this bullshit in school about how Columbus discovered America! Yeah right! He stole America! And as we know, history is always told by the victor, that is why it is all his-story. The system purposely deprives us of our history and knowledge of self on all levels. That keeps us lost and confused.
As to what advice I would give to people from our background? Well, I would direct it at the youth, especially the ones in them streets banging and hustling and stuff. I would tell them to educate themselves about self and that what we all need to learn to forget our differences. When we come together, we don’t come together as Baptists or Methodists (or CRIPS or BLOODS). We don’t catch hell because you’re a Methodist. You don’t catch hell because you are a BLOOD, and you don’t catch hell because you are a CRIP…..You catch hell because you are a Black or a Latino man. Al of us people of color catch hell for the same reason. We need to come together against the same oppressor.
One more thing, many still continue to bang on the unconscious and self destructive level, yet a new consciousness is dawning (and I am proud to be a part of that positive consciousness); and a positive revolutionary transition however gradual, is taking place. And in that stirring of bodies and meetings of minds, revolutionaries (Bunchy Carters, Fred Hamptons, George Jacksons, Che Guevaras and Sanyika Shakurs of the new Millennium) are in the making. Adding to the number that the repressive establishment will have to reclassify! Because gang actions are seen as self-destructive (and they are) and not a threat to the security of this country, it’s not necessary for them to stop you. But if you begin to question the right of those in authority or resist the chains that constantly bind you, then you’ll be elevated as a security risk and more than likely put in the Agitators Index file.
Many of us are destined for the Agitators Index file because we stand with and for our people, not against our people! I want to see that number of us grow in standing with our people. We are destined for the Agitators Index file because we are extending LOVE to our people and community nationwide. And much love to all the bangers who are waking up to a great truth and doing something to make a difference no matter how big or small.
In closing I’d like to thank you brother for this time and opportunity. We know I don’t like doing interviews too much – they can be draining. But in all actuality, man it’s been a blessing and an honor to do it with you. Thanks for creating an avenue to give those of us here a voice in here. I know you often catch problems just for that alone because they want to suppress us, shut us up completely and murder us. So I respect what you do and it’s been a real blessing to be an integral part of that. And to all of you out there who have love for us, help and support us, whether I know you or not – it’s all love. And I can’t say thank you enough!
One more thing about the death penalty and I will sit my long winded ass down somewhere! (smile). To anyone who may be reading this, the US ranks along with China, Iran and Iraq in its uncivilized use of the death penalty. No other country in the western world is so barbaric. Even in the rest of the world only Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen execute children under the age of 18 years of age, as does the United States. As recently as 1989, the US Supreme Court upheld executions of 16-year-old children. 24 states allow the execution of children under the age of 18. 38 have the capital punishment. The United States Supreme Court and the majority of the judges that sit on the panel refuse to recognize that the death penalty is arbitrarily and capriciously applied. Or that it is cruel and unusual punishment. That it is racist and discriminatory. That is a violation of human rights, it denies due process of law and it is clearly unconstitutional. It is embarrassing to live in a country where the decisions of the highest judges in the land are so irrational, so unenlightened and so lacking in human decency. The Supreme Court justices ought to lead society in setting the highest moral and ethical standards for the country rather than dragging us back into the middle ages.
As long as the general public continues to ignore the issue involved in the practice of executing people, this gross violation of conscience will continue. The criminal justice system isn’t capable of correcting its own errors and it is not capable of leading society to adopt a more civil enlightened policy. In closing I would like to thank you brother for this time and opportunity. We know I don’t like doing interview too much, they can be draining. BUT, in all actuality man, it’s been a blessing and an honor to do it with you. Thanks for creating an avenue to give those of us here a voice in here. I know you often catch problems just for that alone because they want to suppress us, shut us up completely and murder us. So I respect what you do, and it’s been a real blessing to be an integral part of that. And all of you out there who have love for us, help and support us, whether I know you or not, its all love, and I can’t say thank you enough…..Peace and Blessings to you all!

You can reach Gabriel at……

Gabriel Gonzalez #999225
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, Tx. 77351

                                                      CCADP Penpal Request - PLEASE WRITE !

Death Row is an arena where Political and Sociological policies of Power, Retribution, and Violence encase a man in steel and concrete until he, himself, becomes as strong as steel, and his heart as hard as concrete.  But steel is strong, yet pliable, and may change into many forms.  And a Heart of concrete still beats like thunder and Love and Life split it open to care for others, and greater Principles embodied in self and integrity.  I am a 25 year old Cuban man with a strong love for life, and people who are Real, and sincere enough to be themselves, and who care to know me.  I lived much of my life in California before coming to Texas.  I have three beautiful children who I love very much.  I enjoy working out, writing, poetry and music, as well as letters, listening to music and reading.  If you would like to know more, to really know who I am, write... Respectfully yours,

UPDATE:     I would greatly appreciate it if you would locate me a pen pal to correspond with during my trying times of existence here within Texas death row.  I would prefer to correspond with females or men who are at least 25 years old and up.  Personally I'm a 26 year old Cuban man,  formerly residing in California.   I have 3 beautiful children also.  I have just begun my struggle within the confines of this hell hole called "death row" just 3 years ago.   I know my struggle will be long and hard, and I would simply like to be able to share thoughts and strength with anyone sincere enough to be willing to correspond with someone like myself.  Thank you sincerely, Gabriel Gonzalez # 999225\

******  DEC 2004 addition :

GREETINGS !  There resides within me a foohearted mischievous little man.  He seats the throne of my heart.  He is abomination of Billy Goat laughter serenatng the afflictions that hold him court.  He's a free spirti; a rascal that farts sentences like "Be Happy", and "Smile Sucker" when my time becomes particularly dffiicult in this sterile and harsh prison.  I depend on him to get me through.  He is a spitting image of all things I consider beautiful and humanitarian.  A taipan curls contentedly around his warm rock head, and his beard is a colorful rainforest of talking trees.  This little man is really the embodiment of my imagination.  I thrive on fleeting moments to be him in real life.  These death row years have forced me to depend on him to maintain my serenity; and he has grown more restless as my appreciation for life has deepened.  I want to share him with you.  I want to make you laugh; listen to your stories and dreams....I want to catch your tears in my palms, hold them till they take root, nurture them into trees that bare smiley faced fruits.  Write if you like to smile!  


                                         Gabriel Gonzalez # 999225
                              Polunsky Unit D.R

                            3872 FM 350 South

                    Livingston Texas 77351 USA


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This page was last updated May 20, 2005            Canadian Coalition Against the Death Penalty
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